Cancer Connections

Beating Cancer in the Highlands ... This column is brought to you regularly by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and is first published in the Lifestyle section of the Southern Highland News. It is designed to inform everybody of matters relating to cancer in our local community and the wider society. We aim to focus on local news, forthcoming events, services and other cancer issues.

Cancer Connections - March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Patient Transport Drivers’ celebration
Mittagong RSL was the venue for a celebration provided for the volunteer drivers who take cancer patients in the Cancer Council bus up to Campbelltown and back for anything up to five days per week. The function was held to mark the 10 year anniversary of this necessary service for Wingecarribee patients being treated at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy centre. It also recognised the achievement of Terry Liebmann who has been the volunteer local co-ordinator of the drivers for all that time. Terry has now stepped down from that role and the celebration acknowledged his essential contribution. I was able to call in for part of the event and what was impressive was the large group of drivers involved, men and women, and the great spirit which clearly exists between them. Maybe this explains the striking fact that, of the 12 original volunteers, 8 of them are still taking part after 10 years. Their excellent assistance to patients has been further recognised by the fact that Cancer Council has just provided a brand new bus to replace the original one.

Pictured above are the team of bus drivers who make the system work. 

Retiring co-ordinator, Terry Liebmann, is standing 5th from the right.

Rotary BowelCare program
I have received word from BowelCare Australia that their voluntary screening program carried out under the auspices of the Rotary Club of East Gosford will be operating all through April and May this year. This means that anytime in those two months people can purchase a BowelCare test kit for $15 from local pharmacies. The price includes pathology testing, with notification of your result to both yourself and your nominated doctor. Your result will be issued within 30 days of your test kit being received by pathology. Most of our local pharmacies take part in the program and a full listing is available on the website

Blood Cancer Support Group

For some time now, people who are blood cancer patients in the Southern Highlands have had support available through The Leukaemia Foundation. Part of this help involved the benefit of having a blood cancer support group which was co-ordinated by Rachael Seath. A new co-ordinator has now been appointed to that role : Snezana Djordjevic and she can be contacted at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Wollongong office on 4222 0601. Their useful website is at and their email address is

Cancer Services Directory 2018
On the same theme, the 2018 issue of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will have as its focus the important topic of blood cancers. A number of special articles will cover aspects of this lesser-known area of the cancer field with the lead article written by a haematologist. Our Directory will be published in May this year in an issue of the Southern Highland News as one of their Special Publications. Anyone wishing to advertise in that A5 booklet can contact the sales staff at the News office on 4861 2333.

New Co-ordinator for GAPS

A quick mention that we now have Cheryl Hinton assisting with the co-ordination of the GAPS program. Cheryl is a most welcome recruit since she provides relief for Joan Harrison who has fulfilled that role so well over so many years. You can read more about the General and Practical Support service here on this website; just go to the QuickLink on the LHS of screen. The GAPS contact number remains the same : 0428681926 M-F, 9am-5pm.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. March 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, March 28
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU Bowral, 10am, April 10

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - February 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Haematology services improved

Readers of this blog will know that our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee, aided by good publicity in the Southern Highland News, has long advocated for an improvement to haematology services in our district. Having commenced our campaign way back in 2011, we can at last recognise that success has arrived. From January this year, public patients can now have a consultation with a specialist haematologist at the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital and, more importantly, public patients can now receive their treatment there as well. This is a most significant advance since previously they were required to travel to Liverpool for every treatment.

The successful outcome for uninsured patients would not have been achieved without the sustained backing of Prof Geoff Delaney, Director, Cancer Services, South West Sydney Local Health District. The initiative has also been progressed by collaboration between the Southern Highlands Private Hospital and the LHD, in particular through the work of Jenny Harper, CEO of the private hospital, and the support of Prof Stephen Della-Fiorentina, medical oncologist and member of our committee.

Can Assist fundraiser results
We are able to happily report on the most successful fundraising activity held recently by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The luncheon Sunday@Centennial was planned as their major fundraiser for the year. Along with its associated auction, raffle and donations, the whole event altogether raised just over $18,000 net. With 102 guests attending, and many more having purchased raffle tickets beforehand, the result is a record boost to Can Assist’s financial position. That amount will actually cover our local branch’s expenditure in support of patients for a little over 3 months. The encouraging result is a tribute to the efforts of Can Assist’s volunteers, donors and supporters.

Patient Transport for 10 years
The Cancer Council bus which takes Southern Highlands cancer patients up to Campbelltown and back each day has now been operating for 10 years. That is an enormous achievement considering that it has been operated the whole time by volunteer drivers. To celebrate this milestone, and also to acknowledge the retirement of Terry Liebmann, who has been one of the e drivers all through those years, a function will be held at Mittagong RSL at 2.30pm on Wednesday, February 28.

Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

Walking to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko has now become an annual event for supporters of the Rare Cancers Australia charity. Each year the initiative, founded by Bowral locals Kate and Richard Vines, has seen increased numbers join in the activity. This year’s participants will be gathering at Thredbo National Park, 8.00 am Saturday, March 17, with a target of $200,000. More information on the RCA website at For registrations, which close on March 10, go to

The March Charge for Cancer Council
Also on the fitness theme : The March Charge is a fun personal fitness challenge. By walking or running for Cancer Council this March, and by raising funds, you can help them Charge ahead with cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support services. You can choose to go solo or get your friends, family, or colleagues together and do it as a team – it’s up to you! For all information, visit

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb 28
• “The March Charge” is on in March 2018. See item above.
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am, March 13
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge for RCA, Sat. March 17. See item above.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Connecting the Future” seminar success

This event was organised for Palliative Care Week by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers included Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, the retired palliative care specialist who initiated the “Push for Palliative” campaign, and Jane Mahony, a local senior nurse consultant in the field. An audience numbering about 80 heard informative presentations from both and later gained an insight into current planning for the hospice building to be constructed in Bowral. The draft drawings for the building were on display and stimulated much discussion.

Visit of the Premier to Bowral
June 6 saw the visit by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to the Southern Highlands. A public meeting of 200 locals was hosted by Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell at the Bradman Museum and provided an opportunity for the Premier to speak personally about how she saw her role and to tell us how much she admired all the community work going on in our district.
As I had hoped, I did have an opportunity, after the formal items were over, to speak with the Premier as she mingled. Naturally I wanted to raise the issue of greater resources for palliative care and briefly touched on the main points why this was badly needed. The Premier clearly understands the reasons anyway and nodded as I spoke before she promptly replied : “Grahame, watch this space”.

Announcement on palliative care
Our Cancer Leadership Committee members certainly did “watch this space” and were soon able to see that Gladys had kept her word. On Monday June 12 the NSW Government announced that a record $100 million would be spent over the next four years to increase palliative care services. Out of the numerous benefits which will flow from this extra funding I will just select one : this will mean a much needed improvement in the provision of palliative care throughout regional and rural NSW, areas which have been substantially less well serviced so far. So there is some cause for a sense of achievement among all those who supported this issue : volunteers for Cancer Council NSW; those who “signed the pledge”; those who backed Dr McMaster’s campaign; and ultimately those State MPs from all parties who saw there must be a better way to care for people with a life-limiting illness.
For the latest details on what the Government has announced, please go to our 'News & Events' tab above for the item "Premier's visit to Bowral".

New Car for GAPS drivers !
Here’s a big boost to our free GAPS service to cancer patients – the one which sees those dedicated volunteers driving cancer patients to consultations and treatment and using their own cars to do it. Cancer Council NSW have come good on their promise to provide GAPS drivers with a brand new car. From now on, the “first cab off the rank” you will see transporting a patient – and sometimes the trips are to Liverpool or Concord and back – will be the Toyota RAV4 with its Cancer Council logo. Here is another way in which our community benefits directly from raising funds at events like “Relay for Life” and the hugely successful “Dance for Cancer”.

PAWS Pet Therapy celebration

A dinner will be held by the PAWS Pet Therapy enthusiasts on Saturday July 22 at Centennial Vineyards. Details are on this website under the News & Events tab. This is an innovative organisation of dog owners who take their beautiful pets into hospitals and nursing homes to bring cheer to so many. They can always accommodate more pet lovers so if you and your dog can volunteer, ring Sharon Stewart on 4681 0499.

Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month
• July is Dry July

• Can Assist meeting Tuesday, July 11, 10am at BDCU, Bowral

• PAWS Pet Therapy function, Centennial Vineyards, July 22, 5-10pm. Details above.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. July 25 RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. July 26

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - August 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Haematology hardship

If you are a reader of this column, you will be aware that we have a lack of haematology services in the Southern Highlands. (If you missed the story, go to the Cancer Connections tab above and scroll down to our July column. Further detailed information is available on the LHS of the screen by clicking on the Local Issues link to "Haematology services".) 

An uninsured patient can have a consultation at Bowral and District Hospital with a haematologist who comes from Liverpool. But for their treatment, the uninsured patient must still travel to Liverpool every time. The result, unfortunately, is that uninsured patients with a haematology diagnosis, such as leukaemia, myeloma, or other blood cancers, must make costly, time-consuming and stressful journeys to Liverpool on a regular basis. It is often family members or carers who must share this burden. And if no-one is able to get the patient to their treatment, it is often our volunteer drivers from the GAPS program who have to take them there and back.

Transporting Cancer Patients

Not aware of GAPS ? Our General and Practical Support service provides fully-trained volunteers who transport patients to and from medical appointments and treatment. Sometimes it means going all the way to Liverpool Hospital and return. Sometimes it involves transport to and from a pickup location for the Patient Transport Service. This is the bus (volunteer drivers again) that takes cancer patients to the Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown. Neither service would be possible without the backing of Cancer Council NSW which provides the bus, petrol, etc and which funds the GAPS drivers’ journeys. For all the details on this transport assistance, go to the Quick Links on the LHS of screen and click on SH Patient Transport or General and Practical Support (GAPS). 

Daffodil Day
A reminder that I mentioned last month the date for Daffodil Day this year : Friday, August 26. Cancer Council always has a number of outlets in the Highlands, based on the major shopping centres. In addition, the Coles organisation has long been a strong supporter and their outlets often have Daffodil Day merchandise available in the week of the event. Every little bit helps, so why not stop by where you see the sign of the daffodil, the symbol for hope. I have invited the State MP for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell, to call in at the stall in Springetts Arcade on that morning. He has readily agreed and will be there sometime around 11am. Call by to show your support for improvements in cancer care.

New committee members

Our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee was delighted to gain two new members in recent months. Carolyn Le Compte, the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Nursing here in Bowral, has now joined our popular Mira Glavan, the Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care. I can also now proudly report that the busy editor of Southern Highland News, Jackie Meyers, has somehow found the time to join us at our monthly meetings. We are most pleased to welcome both as valuable new members.

“Push for Palliative”
This is a good time to mention the widespead efforts to improve palliative services. In a nutshell, there are just not enough palliative care doctors and nurses in the NSW health system. So it’s not possible to give every patient with life-limiting cancer who needs specialist palliative care the access to it, when they need it, wherever they live. That means that some people aren’t able to spend their dying days, weeks, or months, comfortable and pain-free, in a place of their choosing. And it means that some people aren’t treated with the dignity that everyone deserves at end of life. There is a current campaign – “Push for Palliative” spearheaded by Dr Yvonne McMaster and Cancer Council NSW – for more palliative care doctors and nurses and culturally-appropriate specialist palliative care services for Aboriginal people. More details to follow.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, August 23. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, August 24.
• Daffodil Day is Friday, August 26. Stall in Springetts Arcade.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Sept. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Advance Notice : the Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair is coming to Berrima Public School again on Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email:

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - June 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Can you spare a little time ?
Currently some opportunities exist for people to volunteer to help cancer patients by means of our GAPS program. That’s the General and Practical Support service which is available throughout the Wingecarribee Shire to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers will be provided by Cancer Council NSW. Some of the ways you can assist include preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service taking patients to Campbelltown. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, telephone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council NSW on (02) 4223 0200.

Pictured above are some of our team of GAPS volunteers (L to R) : Suzy Kennon, Jann Wadsworth, Aurelia Grigore-Reid, Chris Roode, Wanda Lach, Julianne Halpin, Belinda Lamb (Cancer Council), Judith Brooks, Joan Harrison (GAPS Co-ordinator),
Di Hinton, John Hinton. In front : Nick Goodall.

Relay For Life 2014
In the wash up to this year’s immensely successful Relay For Life in the Southern Highlands, the tally for funds raised has now passed the $286,000 mark – a fantastic achievement and proof once again of how generously the Southern Highlands community will respond to a good program and a worthwhile cause. (A report on Relay was given in our Cancer Connections blog for May – access via the tab above.) Our keynote speaker on that cold, wet day, Barbara Williams, was both entertaining and inspiring as she described the excitement she had in forming a breast cancer dragon boat team and competing at regattas. A reminder that the full text of what she had to say can now be read on the News & Events section of this website just click here.

New members for the committee
The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has recently benefited from the addition of a number of local health professionals who have come on board. We shall now have the added expertise brought by : Peter Coupland and Mel Kalde, who are both employed as Social Workers at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre; Mira Glavan, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care, from the Wingecarribee Community Health Centre; and also rejoining the committee at its next meeting will be Jonathan Purvis who was this committee’s first chairman and, more recently, the co-chair of the successful local Relay For Life 2014. A full listing of the membership of our committee can be viewed under the “About Us” tab above.

Concerns about the co-payments issue
At its June meeting, a number of committee members expressed their concerns about some of the Federal Budget’s changes in the health area. Of particular concern were the proposals to charge a co-payment for GP visits and some medical tests, which, if passed by Parliament, will place extra burdens on cancer patients who already face financial difficulties due to their illness and which will, as a result, create an even greater demand for assistance from such organisations as Can Assist. The Federal Government’s stated intention to restructure in 2015 the pattern of Medicare Locals was also viewed as a backward step, in view of the fact that the Medicare Local for our district was making real advances in improving primary health care across a range of medical fields.

Coming Events
• Red Aussie Apple Day, June 18, to raise awareness of bowel cancer
• “Dry July” is a month for raising funds for families with cancer
• “Call to Arms” in July - football teams support action against cancer
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., July 10th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Community Hospice “Dying To Know Day”, Mittagong RSL, 10am-3pm August 23rd

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - August 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daffodil Day happens in August

One of the most recognised charity symbols of all right across the country is the golden daffodil. It was chosen as the symbol of hope for all affected by cancer because of its reputation as a hardy annual flower, pushing its way through the earth after a long winter to herald the return of spring, new life, vitality and growth. As one of the first flowers of an approaching spring, the daffodil symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. To Cancer Council, the daffodil represents hope for a cancer-free future. While the official day is always the fourth Friday – this year it’s August 23rd – some collections will be held on other days. Buy your daffodil badge which says "Grow Hope".

Can you spare a little time ?
Currently some opportunities exist for people to volunteer to help cancer patients by means of the GAPS program. That’s the General and Practical Support service which is available in the Wingecarribee to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for all volunteers is provided by Cancer Council NSW. Some of the ways you can assist include preparing light meals and snacks; shopping; light housework; respite for a carer; and transport to medical treatment. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. For further information about the program, use the QuickLink on the LHS of screen. If you would like to take part, telephone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council NSW on (02) 4223 0200.

Relay For Life 2014 – advance notice
The date for the Relay For Life 2014 event has now been announced. Co-Chairman of the Relay organising committee, Jonathan Purvis, revealed that : “It will all be happening at Eridge Park Oval next year on Saturday, May 3rd and running right through until early Sunday morning.” So pencil in that date on your list of events to go onto next year’s calendar. More details to come in later months.

Children’s Cancer Welfare Services
This registered charity offers direct financial and practical support to families with children suffering from cancer. The scope of the services supplied is to the whole of NSW but with an emphasis on rural areas. Some of the help provided includes financial assistance for rural children with cancer while they receive treatment in the city; subsidies for transport, accommodation, and rehabilitation; and extends to some help with the family finances at this difficult time. More information can be found at or ring the Secretary, John Causer, on 0427 939 021.

Support Programs scheduled locally
* YWCA Encore is for women who have experienced breast cancer. A free 8-week program at Mittagong on Wednesdays 1-3pm from 16th October to 4th December 2013. For bookings, telephone Vanessa Cashin on (02) 9285 6264 or contact the program by email :

* Look Good…Feel Better. A free program to help in coping with chemotherapy and radiotherapy side effects by restoring patients’ appearance and self-confidence. October 22nd, 10am-12.30pm at the SH Private Hospital. For bookings, contact Jo Pearson 4862 9472 or email Joanne Meehan at Further information about the program is available on this website; just use the QuickLink on the LHS of screen.

Coming Events
• Daffodil Day raises funds for Cancer Council programs, Friday, August 23rd
• Daffodil Day events at the SH Cancer Centre will be held August 21st & 22nd
• September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
• Fight Cancer Foundation Footy Colours Day, Sept. 1st
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Sept. 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• High Tea for McGrath Foundation, Sunday Sept. 15th 9.30am-12.30pm, at the Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral. See all the details on this website under the “News and Events” tab.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - February 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cancer Services Directory 2013
The issue of the Southern Highland News out on Wednesday February 27th will contain your copy of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2013. With articles this time specially focussing on men’s health, this 5th edition will, as always, list the services available locally to assist cancer patients and their families. The listings are updated each year so that the information is as accurate as we can make it. Thanks are due to Southern Highland News and all the Directory’s sponsors who have made the publication possible.

Jo Pearson wins “Nurse of the Year” Award
The Rotary Club of Bowral-Mittagong have named their “Nurse of the Year” and the award has gone to Jo Pearson, a foundation member of our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. This year the Rotary Club devoted their vocational award to the nursing profession and the names of many fine nurses were put forward. Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, was nominated by our Committee and also by the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. At a ceremony on Tuesday, 19th February, Club president, Ray Williams, presented Jo with the perpetual trophy and an individual trophy for her to retain. The modest recipient was gracious in accepting this well-deserved award.

Patient Transport Service
One group of guys already well aware of health issues are those who turn out as volunteer drivers for the Patient Transport Service. The bus, provided by Cancer Council NSW, takes cancer patients from the Southern Highlands who require transport to the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown for treatment or to see a doctor or specialist. Bookings are made either by telephoning the Cancer Council Southern Region office in Wollongong on 4223 0200 or by speaking with the staff at the Macarthur Centre. We should pay special recognition to all those drivers. It’s thanks to their readiness to give their time that this bus service has been so successful.

Prostate Support Group
The recently formed Southern Highlands Prostate Support Group held a most successful information evening on February 5th. More than 50 attended to learn more about prostate issues and were rewarded with two instructive presentations. Local physiotherapist Lucy Forbes stressed the importance of maintaining the strength of the pelvic floor muscle, while Dr. Nestor Lalak (a Bowral urologist) spoke knowledgeably about prostate problems, methods of treatment, and post-operative issues. Both speakers have strongly supported the formation of this group and were happy to answer numerous questions that were asked. For more information contact Tom Carroll on 0419482208 or email


     Pictured : Dr Nestor Lalak speaking at the information evening

“Live Well Now” Program
This valuable program of six sessions spread over two weeks provides the means to find peace while dealing with the stresses of living with an illness. Each 3½ hour session, conducted by Dr Louella Crawford, is held at the SH Private Hospital and the first commences on March 2nd. Cost is $240; bookings close February 25th. For more information or to book, contact Jo Pearson on 4862 9472.

Hospice Week events
Southern Highlands Community Hospice Committee has announced its schedule of events for Hospice Week 2013. While the "week" is officially February 25th to March 4th, the events have been spread a little wider than that to accommodate all the various activities planned. The current schedule is set out in the “News and Events” section of this website with details of the people to contact if you would like to attend any of the events or you can visit the hospice committee’s own website at

Coming Events
• Cancer Services Directory will be issued with SH News, Wed. Feb. 27th
• Teal Ribbon Day, Feb. 27th - Ovarian Cancer Australia
• SH Hospice Week is February 25th to March 4th. See details above.
• “Live Well Now” Program commences Sat. March 2nd. See above.
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thurs, March 14th at the old Bowral Hospital
• Breast Cancer Support Group dinner, March 22nd. Visit

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - September 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Transport Services for Cancer Patients
At the September meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee we met with Janet McNamara, the Manager of Southern Highlands Community Transport. It was a most useful meeting to look at how each of our services can work together for the benefit of patients. We learned how extensive is the service which Janet’s organisation provides, catering as it does for not just cancer patients but people with many different needs. We were able to identify how their organisation and our Patient Transport Service & GAPS volunteers can dovetail their work for the most efficient support of those who require transport help.

Special Note : the email address for the GAPS service has been altered to

Daffodil Day 2012
Thank you to all our local Daffodil Day volunteers who manned the stalls in August and to the many Southern Highlands donors who contributed to the collection. Daffodil Day is one of the main sources of much-needed funding for Cancer Council activities in support of those with cancer and in enabling vital cancer research. 
An added bonus at that time was the kind action by representatives of the business community who gave daffodils to each patient at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. A very thoughtful gesture.

A brand new program for patients to have the benefit of some special visitors has commenced in our district. CarePets involves specially trained dogs coming to see patients receiving treatment at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre within the private hospital. The program is conducted by Interchange Wingecarribee with funding for the training of the dogs and their handlers provided by the Federal Government and Cancer Council NSW. CarePets has already met with an enthusiastic response from those being visited; people interested in volunteering could contact Sharon at Interchange Wingecarribee.

Community Services EXPO

A highly successful expo was held at Mittagong RSL in August to raise awareness in the Wingecarribee of the range of community services that are available. Cancer services to the area were well featured on the day, with volunteers Suzy Kennon and Margaret Maronese present from GAPS (our General and Practical Support program), John Sider representing the Cancer Council NSW, and myself for the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and the Cancer Connect website. 

Cancer Services Directory 2013 is already in preparation

If you are providing a medical or allied service which assists local cancer patients or their family and carers, but you have not been listed in earlier editions of our Cancer Services Directory, we would like to hear from you ! The listing of a service is free and can be arranged by getting in touch with the Committee – contact details are given below. If you also wish to take out an advertisement in next year’s booklet, this can be done by contacting the sales staff at Southern Highland News on 4861 2333.

Coming Events
• Fruit ‘n’ Veg month commenced on August 27
• Blue September aims to highlight cancer issues for men
• September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
• “Walk to Work” Day, Sept. 28
• October is “Girls Night In” month;
• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting will be held on Wednesday October 17th, 10.30am, in the Lecture Room, old Bowral Hospital.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - August 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Daffodil Day is Friday, 24th August
This year’s Daffodil Day will show that the work of bodies like the Cancer Council gives HOPE. Hope that the causes of this disease will be better understood; hope that improved methods of treatment will result from all the research being undertaken; and hope that flows from knowing how much support there is in the community. Purchase a badge on the day and you are giving hope to cancer patients. And if you can spare the time to help out by volunteering to collect on that Friday, please contact Cancer Council on 4223 0200. Every daffodil and every donation grows hope.

Special Program : Living Well After Cancer
Cancer and its treatment can bring a host of practical challenges. Among them are the physical, emotional and social issues that may arise. This free 2½ hour program has been specially designed by Cancer Council NSW for the time when cancer treatment is finished. Course participants will have the chance to :
• Learn about the possible changes, challenges and opportunities they may face after completing cancer treatment;
• Have the opportunity to connect with others on a similar journey;
• Share tips, ideas and activities for living well after cancer.
If you are a Southern Highlands resident interested in attending this valuable program for cancer survivors, their family and friends, telephone 1300 200 558 to obtain further details.

Luncheon for volunteers
A recent Wednesday gave an opportunity for the Southern Region of Cancer Council NSW to recognise the work of its volunteers in the GAPS program. The Canary Café, Moss Vale, was an exceptional venue for the Thank You luncheon for this team of Southern Highlands residents who give their time so freely. General and Practical Support (GAPS) - the service previously called Volunteer In Home Support – provides help to cancer patients and their carers both in the home and with transport issues. Our trained volunteers have always spoken of the satisfaction they gain from helping others and the friendships which flow from working as part of a team. Wednesday provided another way for them to know how much their work is appreciated. For full details of this free service click here

SunSmart Program for Primary Schools
Schools in Southern NSW have been urged to catch up with the rest of the state when it comes to protecting children from skin cancer. “Good habits for life are formed during a child’s school years and the SunSmart Primary School Program will help students to grow up with sun safety top of mind,” said Tina Hunt from Cancer Council’s Southern Region office. “With more than 373 people facing melanoma in the Southern region in NSW each year, we encourage primary schools that have yet to join the program to sign up and protect students from the sun, not just in the summer months but all year round.” 

The program is all about teaching children the importance of sun safety in a fun and engaging way through online curriculum resources and fun lessons. Any Primary school which rings the SunSmart Infoline (02) 9334 1761 and comes on board before September 21st will receive $300 worth of Cancer Council sunscreen.

Coming Events
• Daffodil Day, Friday August 24 – a message of HOPE for those on the cancer journey
• Fruit ‘n’ Veg month commences on August 27
• Blue September aims to highlight cancer issues for men
• September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
• Fight Cancer Foundation Footy Colours Day, September 2
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, September 13 at the old Bowral Hospital

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


Cancer Connections - October 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Balloons Can Assist

The Balloons Can Assist fundraising event will be held on Sunday, November 13, 10am-4pm, at Bowral Pool. The event is being organised by members of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee as a way of giving strong backing to the local Can Assist group. Wingecarribee Shire Council have given generous financial support for the fun day of activities for all the family : Happy the St George dragon, the HUGE inflatable pool toy, live music, balloons, sausage sizzle, aquaerobics for all, and much more. Come along and bring the kids.

Closure of the Cancer Support Group

After five years of wonderful help to cancer patients, the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group has announced that it will now be closing. The Group, the first of its kind in the Highlands, can be proud that they were at the forefront of supporting those with cancer when help was needed the most. The closure recognises that, today, support services available to cancer sufferers and survivors in the Highlands have increased significantly since the Group was formed.

The next and final meeting will be a get together on Wednesday November 16 at 7 pm in the Henrietta Rose Room, Bowral. All members and former members are invited to come along and help us honour those who have been part of the Group. For further information,  click here or call Jann Wadsworth on 4869 3830.

Smoke-free Outdoor Areas policy

Wingecarribee Shire Council have finally released their policy on eliminating the habit of smoking at playing fields and children’s playgrounds. At their meeting on October 12 Council decided the draft policy on smoke-free outdoor areas will soon be made available for community consultation.

Research has shown that inhaling second-hand smoke can cause forms of cancer, heart condition, asthma, and respiratory illness in children and adults. The draft is most welcome but not yet perfect. Why not write to Council to express your views on this important health issue. More about this topic >>>

Funding from Cancer Centre Trust Fund
A ceremony was recently held for the presentation of cheques from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund. Shelley Boyce, from the Southern Highlands Foundation, which manages the Trust Fund, came to present a cheque for $30,110 to the local Cancer Centre to be spent on purchasing five new oxygen concentrators. The local charity, Can Assist, which provides valuable support to cancer patients and carers, also received a donation of $10,000 from the Fund.

Patient Transport Support

The Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Mrs Jillian Skinner, has announced that the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) will receive a boost of $28 million over four years, with a 30% boost in accommodation subsidy and a 25% boost in petrol subsidy for people travelling over 100km for treatment. Some patients living in the Highlands will qualify for this.

Coming Events
• Girls Night In, Moss Vale Services Club, Sat. Oct. 22, Iris Skin & Beauty 4868 1777
• October is Pink Awareness Month. Pink Ribbon Day is on October 24.
• Girls Night In at Vin Santo restaurant, Wed. Oct. 26.
• Look Good…Feel Better Program, Oct. 25 at Bowral. Register 02 9281 2322
• Cancer Support Group – Final meeting : Henrietta Rose Room, Bowral on November 16, 7pm. Facilitator : Jann Wadsworth 48693830.
• “Balloons Can Assist” fundraiser on Nov. 13, 10am-4pm, at Bowral Pool.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


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