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Message from Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Ms Chris McMillan
Welcome to the final edition of Vollie Voice for 2019. I want to say a big thank you to all our volunteers for the commitment, drive and passion they have brought to Cancer Council Queensland this year, and for supporting our mission and helping us work towards a cancer free future.
In this edition of Vollie Voice, we look at our recent Volunteer Thank You Celebrations, the Accelerating Collaborative Cancer Research (ACCR) grants and more!
Thank you again for being one of the many volunteers we rely on to get our job done – we really could not do it without you.
With warmest wishes,
Message from Senior Manager, Volunteering, Loren Ayres
My name is Loren and I’ve recently moved into the position of Senior Manager, Volunteering. I have been lucky enough to meet many of you over my nearly four years at Cancer Council Queensland, and I look forward to getting to know you more in 2020.
It has been another incredible year at Cancer Council Queensland, and I want to thank you for the difference you make through your generous support. The passion
and dedication you have shown really embodies the culture, vision and heart of our organisation.
If you have any feedback, ideas, questions or stories please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We love hearing from you!
I wish you a safe and happy festive season and look forward to working alongside you again in the new year.
Thank You Celebrations
Cancer Council Queensland took the opportunity to say a special thank you to our volunteers and Cancer-Free Challenge entrants from across the state at the 2019 Thank You Celebrations.
Over 430 volunteers at 10 events across the state were celebrated for their efforts in 2019, with Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan and
members of the executive team in attendance at the various events.
Long-serving volunteers were recognised for their commitment to the cause, with certificates given to those celebrating 5-50 years of service.
The highest fundraising teams, branches, and individuals received awards for their incredible achievements over the year. Spirit of the Challenge and Rookie awards were given to those who displayed dedication to actively promoting, supporting and fundraising for Cancer Council Queensland.
Announcement of new cancer research
Cancer research in Queensland recently received a $4 million boost, with Cancer Council Queensland announcing the recipients of the inaugural Accelerating Collaborative Cancer Research (ACCR) grants.
Two research teams at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute will receive $500,000 per annum for four years, comprising $350,000 per annum from Cancer Council Queensland and a $150,000 per annum contribution from QIMR Berghofer MRI.
The successful grant recipients from QIMR Berghofer, Professor Penelope Webb and Professor Nicola Waddell, are at the forefront of cancer research and their teams’ research provides hope for the 29,000 Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer each year.
Professor Penelope Webb will lead a research project that will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the use of electronic patient-reported-outcome measures in routine cancer care to improve patient outcomes, while Professor Nicola Waddell will lead a cross disciplinary team to improve understanding about the response or resistance of lung cancer to
The ACCR grants have replaced Cancer Council Queensland’s long-running Cancer Research Project Grants. The new scheme will award two major new grants each year.
This $2.8 million investment from Cancer Council Queensland into this round of research grant funding would not be possible without the generous support of the Queensland community.
It is because of our fundraisers, donors and supporters that Queensland’s brightest cancer research minds are receiving the funding they need to get us closer to a cancer free future.
International Volunteer Day 2019
December 5 marked International Volunteer Day for 2019.
Cancer Council Queensland took the time to thank all the incredible volunteers who donate their time in support of the 29,000 Queenslanders who are diagnosed with cancer each year in the state.
Volunteers give their time, skills, energy and passion which enables Cancer Council Queensland to enhance the services and support we offer across the state.
We would not have the reach and impact that we have without our wonderful volunteers.
Often our volunteers, or those giving their time to help cancer patients through one of our support programs, are the first people on the ground offering a listening ear and shoulder to lean on in a time of need.
Meet Cancer Council Queensland ambassador Georgina Lewis!
Why did you decide to get involved with the Daffodil Day Appeal in 2019?
I put my hand up to be involved with Cancer Council Queensland after a melanoma scare.
10 News First has always been a big supporter of Daffodil Day and covers the campaign each year for the 5pm news bulletin. It was great to be a part of the day as an ambassador and help sell daffodils at King George Square.
What makes you proud to be a Cancer Council Queensland ambassador?
I want to be able to use my profile to raise awareness about the importance of sun safety and going for regular skin checks.
Australia is currently the skin cancer capital of the world; this is a title we need to change.
Can you tell us more about your melanoma scare?
My doctor first noticed a suspicious mole on my torso in 2017. I had all the referrals to get it looked at but never did.
When I finally got examined by a dermatologist in July 2019 he immediately asked if I had a history of melanoma in my family. He did a biopsy and a wave of panic swept over me when I saw him mark the paperwork “urgent”.
I was so angry at myself for not getting the mole checked earlier. I was at work when I got the phone call about the results and I got up from my desk and burst into tears in the makeup room.
All I could think was that I could have avoided this if I had taken preventative action and listened to my doctor. I was extremely fortunate that it wasn’t more advanced.
How do you stay sun safe while enjoying the Queensland sun?
Living in Queensland is all about enjoying our great outdoors. It’s so important to be SunSmart and make sure you use sunscreen. The beach has always been a big part of my life, but I make sure I’m not in the sun for long and not during the peak times, I cover myself in sunscreen and always wear a hat.
In your Cancer Council Queensland ambassador role, what are you most excited for in 2020?
I’m looking forward to raising more awareness about the importance of getting regular skin checks.
Cancer Council Queensland lodge a “home away from home” for cancer patients
Robyn and Rod Mackenzie’s lives changed forever when Rod Mackenzie was diagnosed with melanoma and prostate cancer in late 2017.
The Stanthorpe couple began travelling back and forth to Brisbane for treatment from January 2018 following Rod’s diagnosis.
“He (Rod) had four procedures in Brisbane for his cancers so we were staying in Brisbane for a lengthy period,” Robyn said.
“Rod’s cancer became inoperable and he now has monthly treatments at the PA hospital.”
Robyn came across Cancer Council Queensland’s accommodation lodge facilities after doing some research online.
“We weren’t informed about the lodge, but I thought there must be something out there to help us,” she said.
“I did some research and found the lodge online.
“The lodge has done so much to help us, and I have made sure people in Stanthorpe know about Cancer Council Queensland’s lodges.
“I didn’t know much about Cancer Council Queensland until our family were affected by cancer.”
The couple stayed at the charity’s Ellis Lodge in South Brisbane on and off during Rod’s cancer treatments.
“I can’t speak more highly of the people who work at the lodge and everyone you encounter at the Cancer Council are the right people for those jobs,” Robyn said.
“The bus is marvellous and the facilities at the lodge make it feel like a home away from home.
“Cancer Council Queensland saved us financially and emotionally, plus we got to meet other people at the lodge going through similar things.”
The couple have recently began renting their own apartment that is close to Ellis lodge and still pay a visit every week for morning tea.
“The lodge saved us, and we still have morning tea there every Tuesday,” she said.
“I am now contributing to the morning tea as my way of giving back and supporting the lodge.\
“The help and assistance you receive at the lodge is just wonderful.”
How to stay SunSmart in Queensland
Queensland has the unfortunate title of being the skin cancer capital of the world. In most parts of Queensland, UV radiation reaches three or above most days – even when the weather is cool and cloudy. Sun protection is required whenever the UV level is three of above.
Queenslanders must have a strong understanding of how to best identify possible skin irregularities, so cancers can be identified by health professionals as early as possible. Early detection of skin cancers is key to increased survival rates.
Tips for carrying out a skin check at home:
- Make sure you check your entire body even the hard to see skin
- Check skin in a room with good light
- Use a mirror to check hard to see spots, like your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check it for you
- If you spend a lot of time working outdoors, we recommend you get a skin check every six months
Cancer Council Queensland recommends individuals abide by all five sun protective recommendations all year round – Slip on protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.
To access real time UV levels in your location, download the free SunSmart App or check it out on the Bureau of Meteorology Website.
13 11 20: the face behind the voice
Why is 13 11 20 so important?
The 13 11 20 support service meets a human need – we are there for people during a time of emotional distress, when their world is turned upside down by cancer.
In what ways does 13 11 20 differ from other support services?
We cover ALL cancers. We cover the whole spectrum of queries from genetics, prevention and screening to palliative care and survivorship. We understand that cancer has a significant ripple effect on others and so we also provide support for family and friends.
What are some of the most common questions or concerns people phone up?
People contact us for all sorts of reasons – there are no typical queries. We get calls from people who have been newly diagnosed with cancer and don’t know what to do next. We also get contacted by family and friends who are looking for practical ways they can provide emotional support to their loved ones.
What kind of support and information can you provide to people who contact 13 11 20?
We talk about what support is available to them directly through Cancer Council Queensland and how they can also access services within the broader community. We can also help callers access evidence-based information and provide them with our own publications.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
For me, it’s very rewarding allowing people to feel understood and accepted. Often, I’m having conversations with callers about topics that they may not have had the opportunity or desire to discuss with anyone else – topics like sexual health, ceasing treatment or death. The time we spend with our callers can make a positive and long-lasting difference to their lives and this is a responsibility I take seriously and feel privileged to be able to do.
What message would you like to pass on to our supporters?
Simply, thank you. Your support allows us to help others in need and make their lives just a little bit easier when dealing with cancer.