GNO target of $50,000 a bold plan

By Ivy Jensen

AN ECHUCA-MOAMA cancer charity is on a mission to raise $50,000 this year to help the rising number of people diagnosed with the disease.

The Echuca-Moama Girls Night Out (GNO) chair Leonie Canham said the number of families accessing the program had grown considerably in recent years and, as a result, the fund was running low.

‘‘We’re thrilled that more and more people are learning about the fund and that it’s helping to lighten the load during what is an incredibly challenging time, but that means we need to take our fundraising efforts to another level,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve set ourselves a target of $50,000 this year, which is a big number for a volunteer committee of five to reach.’’

Since the initiative started in 2008, more than 550 local families impacted by cancer have received financial support through the charity’s supportive care program.

Managed by Echuca Regional Health’s oncology service, the program provides cancer patients with financial assistance for supportive care including counselling, rent payments, wigs, alternative therapies, lymphodeama sleeves, fuel cards, accommodation, home care and child care.

In its 11th year, GNO has raised more than $265,000 for the supportive care fund; with $43,000 of that raised in the the past two years, helping more than 140 residents.

Mrs Canham said thanks to the generosity of the Echuca-Moama business community and GNO sisterhood, the charity was now well on its way to reaching its goal this year.

GNO is hosting a major fundraising event on May 26 at Junction Moama, with tickets already sold out.

More than 300 women will attend the Lazy Sunday Afternoon, which includes entertainment, food, drinks, auctions and a live Q&A panel featuring a cancer survivor, carer and ERH oncology nurse.

In addition to the event, the charity is running a $20,000 prize draw, with tickets still available to the public.

Up for grabs is a $16,000 spa package, Backyard Blitz package valued at $3569 and $800 Daylesford Weekend Getaway.

Tickets are $100 and can be bought online at

Ms Canham said anyone wanting to support the charity could also donate to the Supportive Care Fund at

ERH oncology department nurse unit manager Lyn Jeffreson said the fund was making a meaningful difference to the lives of many people in the community living with cancer.

‘‘The hidden cost of dealing with cancer treatment can cause anxiety and hardship and although some financial support is available through the Cancer Council and travel reimbursement schemes, people can still face financial strain,’’ Ms Jeffreson said.

‘‘This is where the GNO Supportive Care Fund is so valuable as those funds are utilised to purchase services or goods that are vitally important or necessary for people having cancer treatment but otherwise not funded by government sources. This flexibility is wonderful for people as they can access some support where the greatest financial need is for them.

‘‘From a nursing point of view, we are thankful to have the fund, enabling us to assist with worries and distress that our patients experience.’’

For information, contact Mrs Canham on 0407360884.