CANCER Council representative Toby Dawson has spoken about how the community has helped strengthen the organisation.
More than 20 people attended the Cancer Council NSW Bega’s office second birthday celebrations on Friday.
Guests included Bega Valley Shire Councillor Ann Mawhinney, Bega Land Council CEO Russell Cook and Bega Valley Can Assist representative Peter van Bracht.
Mr Dawson, Cancer Council NSW’s community engagement manager, explained that 94 per cent of the council was funded by the community.
“It’s our responsibility to the community to lobby for services that don’t exist,” he said.
“It’s opportunity to demonstrate the importance of community.”
Mr Dawson said the Cancer Council had made a real impact in the Bega Valley since the office opened in 2011.
He pointed to the organisation’s work with the Wallaga Lake community, thanking the Bega Lands Council for its support.
“We have worked closely with the Wallaga Lake community, they didn’t understand cancer,” Mr Dawson said.
“We have educated Aboriginal people in an appropriate way.”
Mr Dawson acknowledged the work of the Bega Valley Shire Council for implementing smoke-free policies in the community.
He said the BVSC had become one of the state’s first councils to do so.
“The council has taken that leadership to make Bega the spot we needed it to be,” Mr Dawson said.
Mr Dawson said other highlights for the office included launching the Valley’s first cancer services directory.
After explaining there are over 200 cancer types, Mr Dawson talked to attendees about how Cancer Council fought back against the disease.
Mr Dawson said Cancer Council was the largest non-government investor into research, but relied heavily on the community.
He said research ideas were taken to a consumer panel, which would decide if it was the public’s interest or relevant.
“Cancer Council is addressing the needs, not duplicating or replicating them.”
Mr Dawson said he couldn’t believe the office was already celebrating its second birthday.
“It has been a very quick two years in the journey to here,” he said.
“The community here has been so great that I have felt welcomed.”
Cancer Council NSW’s southern community engagement manager Mia Parsons said the office had been great for the Valley.
It’s been accessible to the community to access information support and to be a touch point,” she said.
For more information about the Cancer Council, phone Sarah Flynn at the Bega office on 6492 1805 or visit www.cancercouncil.com.au.