Behind every Cancer Council event or milestone is hours of lobbying for government funding or dedicated planning by volunteers.
The organisation is 96 per cent community funded so money raised comes mainly from dedication and determination.
Cancer Council NSW is celebrating its 60th birthday this year and is calling 60,000 volunteers across the state to say thank-you, including hundreds in the Riverina.
Volunteers include Relay for Life captains and those who have donated money or sold merchandise during a major event in 2015.
“It all contributes to our general cause of fighting back against cancer and you need all types of support,” community engagement manager Pip Grant said.
“How many daffodils and Dougal Bears have been sold in 60 years?” Miss Grant said.
Cancer Council NSW was established in 1955 by an act of parliament and has since implemented important nationwide initiatives including Slip! Slop! Slap! in 1985, Daffodil Day in 1986, free breast screening in 1991, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in 1993, Relay for Life in 2001 and smoking bans in pubs and clubs in 2007.
Cancer Council NSW issued its first call for volunteers in 1984 and 50 community members showed up.
Today, there are more than 32,500 volunteers across the state.
Miss Grant said the support of volunteers ensures events run throughout the Riverina are able to succeed.
More than $600,000 was raised in 2015 from Relay for Life events in Wagga, Griffith and Albury and more than $60,000 was raised this year from 200 Girls Night In events.
Miss Grant said there is a direct correlation between fundraising and an increase in survival rates in most cancers.
One of the biggest accomplishments, according to Miss Grant, includes shining a light on some of the “forgotten cancers”, such as pancreatic, blood, bowel and brain cancers.
“We are one of the only cancer charities that is all cancers and all people,” she said.
Wagga and Albury will introduce The Little Hats Project in schools in 2016 with the aim of increasing SunSmart schools in the Riverina from 86 per cent to 100 per cent.
Cancer Council NSW timeline of events
1955 – The NSW State Cancer Council is established by an act of parliament.
1957 – First funds for cancer research.
1976 – The first regional office opens in Newcastle.
1984 – The first call for volunteers goes out and only 50 community members show interest.
1985 – The Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign comes to NSW.
1986 – The first Daffodil Day is held.
1988 – SunSmart programs are rolled out in schools.
1991 – Past president of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Frazer, and Dr Jian Zhou create a HPV vaccine.
1991 – The nationally-funded program for the early detection of breast cancer, known as BreastScreen Australia, launched.
1993 – Transport assist to treatment is launched.
1994 – The first Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is held.
1994 – The NSW Cervical Screening Program is established.
2001 – The first Relay for Life is held at Campbelltown.
2006 – Cancer Council NSW creates the Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care Project.
2006 – Cancer Council NSW provides funding to a team examining pancreatic cancer.
2006 – Free bowel cancer screening starts in NSW.
2007 – Smoking is banned in pubs and clubs.
2009 – The government announces it is an offence to smoke in cars with children present.
2009 – The federal government commits to expanding the Get Behind Bowel Screening program.
2012 – The Australian government announces that packaging on tobacco products must be plain.
2012 – Smoking is banned in public areas such as children’s playgrounds, sporting fields, covered bus shelters and taxi ranks.
2014 – Solariums are banned in NSW.
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