Cancer 'angels' give support

MOST of us know someone touched by breast cancer.

Today is Pink Ribbon Day, so it's time to wear pink again in support of breast cancer research.

It's the Cancer Council's major annual event for breast cancer and aims to help raise not just awareness, but money for research, education and patient support programs.

Every year nearly 13,500 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer and while medical advances have improved survival rates, one-in-nine women will still develop the disease.

The Cancer Council is Australia's foremost independent cancer research and support organisation, providing $47 million for research last year alone, as well as information, advice and support networks.

Gwen Kent and Christina Woodhead understand better than most the trauma and struggle associate with cancer. They are the 'living angels' who keep the Cancer Care Unit at Lismore Base Hospital going.

Both women are retired nurses who devote most of their time to supporting and caring for cancer sufferers.

Before the unit was established in September 1985, patients had to travel to the city for treatment, adding unnecessary stress and inconvenience to their lives.

Mrs Kent and Mrs Woodford have volunteered since the beginning and have no intention of stopping any time soon.

“We're both ex-nurses so it's wonderful to have time to sit down and talk to patients - something we could never do as nurses,” Mrs Woodhead said.

Mrs Kent agrees. “We do it for the patients. People will have the most amazing stories and sometimes they need to talk to someone outside their family.

“We get very attached to our patients and many keep in touch.

“The husband of one of my first patients still sends me Christmas cards to this day.”



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