FUNDS left over from the Shoalhaven’s fund-raising efforts for the $34.8 million Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre are to be invested for the next 12 months.
The Shoalhaven community raised almost $1.5 million towards the project through the Shoalhaven Linear Accelerator Appeal Committee which has $700,000 left in fund-raising accounts.
Paul Dean, who was a co-founder of the committee with the late Dr Ray Cleary, said the local community had contributed $1.115 million used to construct the 10 accommodation units attached to the centre.
“Committee representatives met with the centre manager and area health services cancer manager and unanimously resolved to invest its funds for 12 months.
“We reviewed a range of potential projects before coming up with the plan to invest our funds for the next 12 months, by which time the centre will be well and truly up and running and the managers would have a better understanding of what they might require in the future.”
During LINAC’s fund-raising activities the community has in total provided $1.463 million for the project, with an additional $374,000 being earned from investing these funds.
Along with the $1.115 million contributed to NSW State Health to build the accommodation units, extra funds were made available by the committee to make each of the units five square metres bigger.
A further $38,000 was spent on the arts project within the centre, which contributes greatly to humanising patient areas, while there was a further $4000 in miscellaneous costs.
At the time of the official opening in November the fund-raising committee still had $680,000 in the bank and has since had another donation of $20,000 from the Shoalhaven Breast Cancer Committee.
“We have looked at a number of projects such as an additional eight units of accommodation; patient and carers’ transportation needs; funding clinical trials; the provision of a city wide palliative care facility; funding selected cancer treatment research; the provision of cancer treating equipment and supplies for the centre and extending its involvement with the arts project,” Mr Dean said.
“We will continue to work with the cancer care centre managers and the community to establish the best use for the remaining funds on the basis that all funds are used for assisting in the provision of cancer care within our area.”
The official opening, and now operation, of the centre culminated almost a decade of dedicated work for the Shoalhaven City Linear Accelerator and Cancer Treatment Fund Raising Committee Inc.
The centre was officially opened late last November by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and has been taking patients since December 9.
Mr Dean said he was proud to see the centre now up and running.
“With the cancer care centre we have achieved our primary goal of bringing radiation therapy cancer treatment to this area,” he said.
“As a committee we set the goal of raising $1 million in 2004 as a means of expressing the community’s desire for and willingness to help fund this form of cancer treatment.
“Working closely with Shoalhaven City Council, key service clubs, licensed clubs, other fund raising groups, individuals and the thousands of local donors the committee achieved its target in December 2009.”
A community open day at the new centre is being planned by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to share the centre’s capabilities with local residents.