Today, guest speakers Hayley Tuck and volunteer Echo Stretch, spoke about the Cancer Council and the services they provide to the greater South West region. The Cancer Council have many fundraisers including Daffodil Day, Relay for Life, Girls Night In and the Biggest Morning Tea. The vast majority of funds raised go into research projects. The balance is split between programs such as 2 Fruit & 5 Veg, bowel screening program, look good feel better, plus support by way of accommodation in Perth and locally for those undergoing treatment. There is also a Helpline manned by qualified dietician, psychologist and cancer nurses to provide support to anyone touched by cancer. All of these services are provided free of charge from funds raised at various events.
The latest facility to open is Dot’s Place, Forrest Ave, Bunbury. The home has been donated by a generous community member who has been touched by cancer. From the premises, Cancer Council currently sees approx 60-80 people per month seeking advice, counselling and services associated with having cancer. The volunteers and coordinators help to scaffold patients lives and provide information, referrals for Government support, emotional support and stability during this uncertain and unsettling time and also financial support from a neutral source to help with utility bills. All of this goes a long way towards helping ease the stresses association with having to deal with cancer and enables patients to concentrate on the best recovery possible.
Currently, with no direct bus service from Dot’s Place to the hospital, with the enormous generosity of Bunbury Honda, a car has been supplied to take patients directly to their treatment and home again. After the talk, Raymond Jones from Bunbury Honda, announced that Honda Australia were proud to continue to supply a vehicle for another 2 years!
Cancer Council also have 2 qualified counsellors who travel around the South West if required, to offer emotional support to families and patients. Again, all services are provided free of charge.
As a volunteer, Echo uses her experience as a registered nurse and having been touched by cancer, to visit clients offering emotional support plus assessing what services they may require. She is also co-facilitator of a support group. Echo stated that it was very important for patients to express how they feel, especially men, and it was all part of the recovery process and helped with healing.
It’s incredible how this organisation reaches out to people of all walks of life, all ages and transcends all barriers to offer open, professional guidance during what is possibly such a traumatic time in someone’s life – being diagnosed with cancer. As a community, we are all very grateful that services and people like this exist and will continue to support them whenever possible.