The incredible generosity of one Mandurah couple has been welcomed by the community, as well as the Cancer Council WA, as a strong step in building support for cancer sufferers.
Dorothy and Allan Smith donated their property to the Cancer Council to be used as Dot’s Place, the Peel region’s first cancer support and therapy centre.
The centre offers a range of services to those suffering form cancer and their families, including counselling, exercise classes, legal aid and financial planning advice, transport to and from appointments and much more.
The facility has been designed not only as a centre of service for cancer sufferers, but also a space where they can find comfort in conversation and sharing experiences.
The launch was attended by a range of cancer council staff and community members, including mayor Marina Vergone, former mayor Paddi Creavey, Member for Dawesville Zak Kirkup, Rhys Williams and more.
Speaking at the opening, Cancer Council WA President Professor George Yeoh said the Centre would enable the staff and volunteers to offer clients a more holistic service under one roof.
“I know our Cancer Council staff and volunteers have always worked hard in this region to provide excellent support for people affected by cancer, but this new Centre will allow us to offer even more,” Professor Yeoh said.
“This facility also reflects Cancer Council’s commitment to ensuring that cancer patients, including those from outside the metropolitan area, have access to the care and support that they need during their cancer experience.”
Staff at the centre will offer reliable, evidence based information to anyone affected by cancer as well as a range of practical support services including a free ‘transport to treatment shuttle service’ and a peer support program.
“We know this Centre will deliver benefits for clients in the region because the scientific evidence shows patients who have good support around them have better outcomes, meaning they better cope with the physical and emotional fallout from cancer, than those who don’t,” Professor Yeoh said.
Forty-seven-year old Vanessa Eylward was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in September last year and said being put in touch with Cancer Council’s support services has been invaluable.
Ms Eylward has used the complementary therapies on offer including reflexology, massage and reiki, and will use the free transport to treatment service later this month when she needs to travel to Fiona Stanley Hospital for further treatment.
She said Dot’s Place has given her a sense of belonging.
“To me this is about community, this is about friendship, support and knowledge,” she said.
“It’s about feeling normal and connected, and to me the new house is very much about the growth of a service and engaging more people.
“Ultimately it’s about being supported and supporting others,” she said.
In 2016 last year, the Peel Cancer Support Services delivered 870 different occasions of service, 332 complementary therapy sessions, and 233 trips to treatment.
Latest data from the Western Australian Cancer Registry reveal 745 individuals were diagnosed with cancer in the Peel region – a figure which is expected to significantly rise in the next 10 years.
Professor Yeoh also paid tribute to Dorothy and Allan Smith, the donors who have made Dot’s Place Peel Cancer Support Centre possible.
“All of those who have played a role in the establishment of this Centre, either through your fundraising, donations to Cancer Council or contribution of time and effort, have made an enormous difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families,” he said.
Dot’s Place is located at 34 Victoria Circle, Greenfields.
For more detail about any of the services available at Dot’s Place, call (08) 6389 7830 or the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.