By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on October 20, 2017
THE determination to see a radiation machine for cancer sufferers in the Great Southern is driving a Denmark resident to raise an ambitious $15 million for the cause.
Mary Williams began the Albany Radiation Machine Project with the support of the Denmark Community Foundation 15 months ago.
She said she decided enough was enough for cancer patients having to travel hundreds of kilometres for radiation therapy.
“There is enormous travel involved for treatment in Perth or Bunbury,” Ms Williams said.
“Families are split, businesses are affected, and this shows how desperately we are in need of a radiation machine in the Great Southern.”
Large signs have been erected by the project along Albany Highway and South Coast Highway, with the aim of alerting people to the cause.
Despite Ms Williams’ efforts, WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Regional Director David Naughton said a radiation machine was not on the cards for the region.
“A comprehensive cancer service is available in the Great Southern including visiting specialists, specialist cancer nursing services, a day chemotherapy unit, and a complimentary therapies unit at the Albany hospital,” he said.
“If a patient requires specialist radiation oncology treatment, they are referred to a tertiary hospital in Perth or to the radiation oncology unit in Bunbury for treatment and can access help through the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme.”
“WACHS Great Southern acknowledges and welcomes the fundraising efforts of the Denmark Community Foundation and would encourage it to support the current WACHS Great Southern cancer services with any donations.”
But Ms Williams will maintain her drive to raise funds.
“The response from Great Southern communities has been overwhelming,” she said.
“This will be the people’s machine, not a money-making machine.
“I will make sure this happens.”