More than 200 people packed out Caloundra’s CCSA Hall on Friday for the Biggest Morning Tea, hosted by State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle and the Rotary Club of Caloundra Pacific.
Now in its fourth year, Mr McArdle said that Friday’s event was by far the biggest and the best with $2,200 raised for the Cancer Council, record guest numbers and an important showing of Caloundra’s community spirit.
“The success of this year’s Morning Tea is in no small part due to the support of the Rotary Club of Caloundra Pacific coming on board. And we also saw how a community can band together for a cause that impacts so many.” Mr McArdle said.
“This event aims to raise funds for the Cancer Council but it also offers a valuable opportunity to look at where we are heading in terms of cancer treatment and support services here on the Sunshine Coast. “ Mr McArdle said.
Over morning tea, attendees’ heard from a notable panel of guest speakers which included melanoma cancer survivor Christine Bleijie, the Clinical Director of Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Dr Jeremy Long, and Cancer Council Qld CEO Chris McMillan.
Dr. Jeremy Long spoke of the massive increase in capacity for cancer treatment locally thanks to new facilities like those built at SCUH. He said that overwhelming, the majority of local cancer patients will now be able to receive their cancer care on the Sunshine Coast.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said every cup raised for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea counted in the fight against cancer.
“We’re so thankful to have the continued support of Mark McArdle and the Rotary Club of Caloundra Pacific,” Ms McMillan said.
“Each year, more than 3360 people on the Sunshine Coast are diagnosed with cancer and around 1090 die from the disease.”
“With so many new cancer diagnoses on the Sunshine Coast last year, it is important to know that most of these patients will not be required to travel further afield for their treatments. It’s a big step in our region stand by our own.” Mr McArdle said.
In addition to supporting vital research, funds raised from the Morning Tea will help to establish and maintain support service programs for both patients and their families.
Ms Christine Bleijie has been a Cancer Support volunteer with the Cancer Council since 2012 and she spoke of the valuable emotional support offered by these services, not only for patients but for their carers and family who are also impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
“Patients are the ones who receive the care yet it is important that we focus on their family. This is why Cancer Council support groups that are run by people like Christine, mean so much.” Mr McArdle added.