Radiotherapy campaign gains momentum

By Brian Bigg

STILL more groups have thrown their support behind the push for a new radiotherapy unit for Lismore Base Hospital.

Cancer Voices NSW, the Northern Rivers Prostate Support Group and the Combined Pensioners' Association each sent representatives along to the recent official launch of the campaign in Lismore.

Organiser of the launch, Marshall Fittler, of Community Watch, said during the course of the launch that the representatives of these groups had expressed a wish to throw their weight behind the campaign.

North Coast Area representative for Cancer Voices, Carol Sherringham, said her group had been watching with concern for some time the delay in the building of stage two.

"As a local resident and a cancer survivor myself, I have been especially concerned," she said.

Cancer Voices is a coalition of 80 cancer support groups around the State.

It is the peak advocacy body for cancer patients and their support groups.

Along with the Combined Pensioners' Association and the Prostate Support Group, they represent a growing group in the community trying to get the State Government to commit funds and to provide a start date for stage two of the radiotherapy unit at the hospital.

The Federal Government has committed $8 million to the long overdue project but there is a risk the money will be taken back if the State Government doesn't cough up its share in time.

In the recently-announced State Government budget, only $144,000 was earmarked for the unit and that was only for more planning.

There's also been no commitment from the Government to a starting date for the building work.

Meanwhile, the campaign to keep pressure on the State Government is about to increase further.

Mr Fittler says other public meetings similar to that held in Lismore are being organised in almost every major centre on the Northern Rivers.

The next meeting will be at the Casino RSM Club on August 2 at 7pm.

Anyone with an interest in, or willingness to help the campaign, is invited to attend.

Other similar meetings will be held later in the year in towns such as Kyogle, Grafton, Evans Head, Ballina, Yamba, Maclean, and possibly Bonalbo and Tenterfield.

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