By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on September 21, 2018
DENMARK fund raiser Mary Williams says she always knew in her heart that Albany would get a radiation machine to treat cancer patients, but that didn’t mean learning about Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson’s $6.6 million grant to fund one last week was any less sweet.
The Weekender exclusively revealed last Thursday that Mr Wilson had secured Federal funding to assist the purchase of a linear accelerator, CT simulator and CT interfacing planning and computer system for three work stations for use at Albany Health Campus as early as June next year (‘Cancer funding coup’, 13 September 2018).
Ms Williams began the Albany Radiation Machine Project last year in an attempt to raise $15 million for a facility in Albany.
She said it wasn’t good enough that sick people were forced to travel to Perth and Bunbury for radiotherapy and urged the broader community to donate to help fund the machine.
The project has raised approximately $25,000 so far through sausage sizzles, a radiothon and various other fundraising events.
Ms Williams said the task at hand now was to continue campaigning to guarantee the radiation machine is delivered to Albany.
“Truly, my heart is singing,” she said, upon learning the news.
“I started this off as a five-year project because no one believed me that we could do it in that time, but I knew we’d get it sooner!
“Now, we must plough on and keep the momentum up.”
Ms Williams said during her travels throughout the Great Southern to promote the Albany Radiation Machine Project, she learned of many people’s afflictions with cancer and the struggles they encountered when travelling to Perth for treatment.
Between gaining this knowledge and receiving various negative comments about the project, Ms Williams was more driven than ever to pursue her goal of getting a radiation machine for Albany.
“One person asked me, ‘when are we going to get it?’ and I said, ‘just hang in there, we will get it’,” she said.
“I can’t wait to tell those farmers and people I met in the regions that we’ve done it.”
Ms Williams is continuing her effort to raise additional funds by visiting previous businesses and sites that hosted the large signs she erected for the Albany Radiation Machine Project and asking them to put them back up.
A street stall in Denmark, a barn dance in Kojonup, a high tea and a few more sausage sizzles are also on her fundraising to-do list.
“I’ve put out about 2500 flyers around the region and we are currently organising a dinner dance,” Ms Williams said.
“We are hoping to hold it at Princess Royal Sailing Club in November, so everyone should keep an eye out for tickets for that one.”
According to Mr Wilson, the radiotherapy machine and facility should be in operation at Albany Health Campus by June 30, 2019.