A group of locals touched by cancer have come together to form a new charity offering support to cancer patients in the Northern Beaches region.
The Northern Beaches Community Cancer Care Association (NBCCC) will be the first charity of its type in the region and will work in conjunction with professional caregivers in the Northern Beaches.
Formally launching in February, the NBCCC will conduct fundraising activities involving all elements of the Northern Beaches community throughout 2021 to support cancer patients through the delivery of much needed equipment, health research and initiatives.
The not-for-profit will also focus on building a supportive community network where cancer patients and their loved ones can connect with others in meaningful ways.
The board members are all surviving cancer patients or have had loved ones who are cancer patients, including 59-year-old Julian Henwood, who has enjoyed living on the Northern Beaches for the past 30 years.
Like many Northern Beaches residents, Julian loves being on the water in his kayak at Pittwater, cellaring wine, the presence of good company and enjoying nature. However, on April 23, 2019, his life changed forever when an endoscopy revealed a sinister growth and a biopsy later confirmed it to be malignant.
“I was diagnosed with lower oesophageal cancer, which had metastasised (Stage IV) to the liver,” says Julian. “The two largest tumours were 9cm in diameter.”
Julian immediately commenced treatment involving transfusions, radiotherapy and now chemotherapy over the past 18 months, which has seen his tumours reduce in size.
A fighter and inspiration, Julian is now on a mission to give back to his community and help other cancer patients in the Northern Beaches region through the NBCCC. He says it is an honour to be a part of the NBCCC and it is needed by cancer patients across the region.
“I am grateful for my extended life. I had my treatment at the most amazing Northern Beaches Hospital and radiotherapy at the Northern Beaches Cancer Care. I have never come across such competent and caring health professionals. I am truly blessed to be one of their patients. They are the best!”
“However, Northern Beaches Hospital had just been born and there was little community support beyond this. Knowing that there is a community there to help during my moments of fear, bewilderment, doubt and despair would have been most welcome.”
“I was so weak when I was diagnosed, due to the loss of blood, that I didn’t want to go through the fear of chemotherapy and suffering. When radiotherapy worked and the internal bleeding stopped, my physical and inner-strength returned. I could get out of hospital and I did.”
“I want to help others face their cancer head on. There are so many who are less fortunate than me and I would love to see them receive the best care possible for their individual circumstances.”
“Cancer is indiscriminate and the toll it reeks on the owner and their loved ones needs to be lessened. The Northern Beaches is such a fabulous place to live, and we are surrounded by so many wonderful people who can contribute.”
“I encourage everyone to contribute in any way they can to this wonderful local charity.”
“A constant drip of water will wear away the hardest boulders we face in living and dying with cancer. Drips of love, time and money will truly make a difference,” says Henwood.
NBCCC is a community lead organisation with a voluntary board. In addition to Julian Henwood, the other board members include Chair Bonita Mersiades of Balgowlah Heights, who had the idea to establish NBCCC, Lisa Gallate of Fairlight, Gilda Galluzzo (Treasurer) of Naremburn, Kate McQuestin (Secretary) of Cammeray and Alex Norrie of Palm Beach.
The NBCCC will be supporting the following initiatives in 2021:
- Establishing a ‘Wig Library’ at Northern Beaches Hospital Oncology Unit
- Funding a Community Care Coordinator
- Funding a specialist Oncology Pharmacist Support individual patients and families as and when needed
- Contributing to clinical research and the extension of clinical care trials to Northern Beaches Hospital.
To support the NBCCC, get involved and/or learn more visit: www.nbccc.org.au