Cancer centre plans unveiled
IT’S the community’s day, declared Lismore MP Thomas George yesterday as about 100 people gathered to see the plans unveiled for Our Kids’ Our House that will provide accommodation for patients undergoing cancer treatment and their carers.
He said whether it was Casino Meatworks that gave the initial $25,000 seed funding five years ago to kick-start the ‘dream’, fund raising by the Rotary Club, or the $180,000 donated by the Goonellabah Senior Citizen’s Social Club, the centre would not have become a reality without the community’s support.
The brainchild of Goonellabah pediatrician Chris Ingall, the centre will be built in Hunter Street opposite Lismore Base Hospital and consist of 10 units in motel style accommodation.
Each room will have a bathroom, and tea and coffee facilities, with space for up to five people.
There will also be a shared kitchen, named in honour of the Goonellabah Senior Citizens Social Club which donated money from the sale of its building.
Our Kids fundraising co-ordinator Rebekka Battista said that the family area will have an outdoor courtyard with play equipment for children, while the adult courtyard will feature therapy gardens.
A further 10 units will be built during stage two.
The Cancer Council of NSW, whose chief executive Andrew Penman told the gathering the incidence of cancer had risen dramatically over the past decade, donated $500,000 to the centre.
“Cancer is the biggest cause of loss of life,” Mr Penman said. “This means we need to make cancer services a centrepiece of any significant health service.
“The good thing about today is with the announcement of an integrated cancer centre and Our House, Lismore can really start to meet these challenges.
“It is a tribute to the community and its political leadership.”
And while the Federal Government donated $2.6 million after much lobbying by Page MPJanelle Saffin, the new centre is still about $1 million short.
“That’s why we are not going formally to the community and asking for their help,” Dr Ingall said.
It has offered ‘naming rights’ of parts of the building to groups that can help fund the shortfall.