Cancer care group winds up

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on November 8, 2019

AN ALBANY-based charitable organisation that has raised thousands of dollars to help juvenile cancer patients during the past 35 years has decided to call it a day.

The Children’s Cancer Care Group Albany first formed in 1984 after resident Val Chisholm’s young daughter Donna was diagnosed with cancer.

Ms Chisholm said she tried to hold a fundraiser to help alleviate the cost of travel and treatment.

“I had the idea to hold a cake stall,” she said.

“So I went to Harry Capararo – that’s who you had to see for those sorts of things – and he said, ‘we can do more than that’.”

And so, the Children’s Cancer Care Group Albany was born.

The group’s first fundraiser goal was to raise $20,000 to pay for a Laminar Flow Unit for Princess Margaret Hospital’s (PMH) oncology ward.

“This was a much-needed unit and would allow the first bone marrow transplant to go ahead at PMH,” Ms Chisholm said.

The group raised that money in just one year.

The members of the Children’s Cancer Care Group Albany continued their efforts, funding PMH phone calls, accommodation for families going to Perth for treatment, costs of travel and special equipment some children needed when returning home after treatment.

They accomplished this with a variety of cake stalls, quiz nights, luncheons, street appeals, raffles and donations.

“We have purchased and maintained many computers for our children so they can continue with lessons at home if they are not well enough to attend school,” Ms Chisholm said.

“They miss a lot of schooling when they’re away in Perth having treatment and although they are encouraged to participate in lessons, they are often too unwell for this to happen.

“We have also provided school aides for individual children who have physical disabilities as a result of their illness or treatment.”

The Children’s Cancer Care Group Albany’s efforts also went to sponsoring rooms at Ronald McDonald House for regional children and their families to live in.

However, with the introduction of online fundraising services such as GoFundMe, Ms Chisholm said the group was no longer approached for help as much as they used to be.

The group’s members are also older than when they first started and cannot do as much fundraising as they used to.

It has operated for more than three decades and some of the members have been there since the beginning.

So, it with a heavy heart that the group has decided to no longer operate.

Ms Chisholm said the group’s remaining money, approximately $25,000, was split evenly between CanTeen, The Leukaemia Foundation, Camp Quality, Ronald McDonald House and the new Perth Children’s Hospital, formerly PMH.