Gath­er­ing opens can­cer cen­tre

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

He said the project fin­ished with 1052 com­mu­nity donors, but the fig­ure fell short of do­ing the con­tri­bu­tion jus­tice.

“There are re­ally a lot more peo­ple who have made con­tri­bu­tions,” he said.

“Donors included clubs and groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions through which the com­mu­nity made its con­tri­bu­tion.

“There were thou­sands of other peo­ple in­volved.

“The pub­lic sup­port has been both tremen­dous and heart-warm­ing and I can only imag­ine the count­less thou­sands of hours of fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties such as sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets, con­duct­ing sausage sizzles, movie nights, lunches and gala and spe­cial events.

“This ob­vi­ously in­volved a large num­ber of gen­er­ous peo­ple who were self­less in their ef­forts.

“The com­mu­nity should be ex­tremely proud of what it has achieved and con­grat­u­la­tions on a job well done are cer­tainly in or­der. It re­ally shows what can be achieved when you have a project that the re­gional whole-heart­edly em­braces.”

Long-term can­cer patient Leonie Bird pro­vided in­sight into what the new cen­tre meant for peo­ple try­ing to cope while fight­ing this disease.

“For a patient and their fam­i­lies, treat­ment can be very time consuming. It can de­mand your at­ten­tion and at times take over your life,” she said.

“For me, it’s about bal­ance – meet­ing my can­cer re­quire­ments with­out fore­go­ing life­style, cop­ing with change, de­vel­op­ing new plans and goals to man­age the ever-chang­ing life­style.

“It’s about in­de­pen­dence, hav­ing choice, some de­gree of con­trol.

“It’s about knowl­edge, know­ing where to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion.

“It’s about con­fi­dence, build­ing re­la­tion­ships with the med­i­cal team, trust­ing that team.

“It’s about prac­ti­cal sup­port when it’s needed and know­ing where to ac­cess it.

“It’s about liv­ing well – hav­ing ac­cess to phys­i­cal and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. It’s about con­nec­tive­ness – a sense of be­ing a mem­ber of the team and not an out­sider.

“This amaz­ing fa­cil­ity pro­vides this ac­cess and sup­port. It helps me nav­i­gate and I feel I have some con­trol over my ill­ness. I only have to walk in the door and I have help.”

Can­cer spe­cial­ist Pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Kan­nourakis and Maria Safe from Royal Mel­bourne Hos­pi­tal also spoke.

Rachael Lit­tori, who while un­der­go­ing treat­ment for can­cer wrote a let­ter to former Mem­ber for Mallee An­drew Broad to help build a new cen­tre, a move that pro­vided a fund-rais­ing cat­a­lyst, and Jo Johns, the wife of Don Johns, un­veiled a plaque to de­clare the cen­tre open.

TO THE FU­TURE: Jo Johns and teacher Rachael Lit­tori of­fi­cially open Wim­mera Can­cer Cen­tre. Pic­tures: PAUL CARRACHER

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