$65K — now that’s a night out: The girls really hit the jackpot for ERH

ECHUCA-MOAMA Girls Night Out dropped into Echuca Regional Health on Thursday for the official handover of a whopping $65,000 cheque from its most recent fundraiser.

The money, raised from GNO’s wildly popular Lazy Sunday Afternoon event in June, will go straight to the GNO Oncology Department Supportive Care Program.

Managed by the oncology service at ERH, the program provides vital financial assistance and supportive care including counselling sessions, oncology massage, wigs, rental payments, fuel cards, accommodation, homecare and childcare.

The most recent donation, which smashed GNO’s $50,000 target and all previous records, takes the fundraising tally to $350,000 since the committee was established in 2008.

Backing local oncology services is a no-brainer for GNO chair Leonie Canham — particularly as she, like so many, has been touched by cancer.

"In my late teens my dad was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer," she said.

"He was in his mid-40s. So he fought cancer for about four years and we lost him in his late 40s and I had just turned 22.

"So it was a really traumatic time that has shaped my life."

In the years since that tragedy, Mrs Canham has searched for ways to give back.

"(GNO has) helped me work through that loss and turn something really negative and really sad into a positive," she said.

"It’s been hugely rewarding and hugely humbling and to do it alongside a committee of beautiful girls who are some of my very best friends and who have also been through similar stories and experiences and losses has been really powerful.

"It has honestly changed me from the inside out."

ERH nurse unit manager Lyn Jeffreson said the hospital was blown away by the latest donation.

"The GNO committee has provided the fund for more than 11 years now and their dedication and involvement with community in raising awareness of the supportive care needs of patients is just invaluable," she said.

"It enables us to actually support patients and their families while people are undergoing cancer treatments in ways we perhaps couldn’t with funding that’s from our recognised government sources."