Gathering opens cancer centre
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