Cancer services forced to close
AFTER almost 30 years, Coffs Harbour's Regional Cancer Services organisation has been forced to fold.
President Sandy Casson said the membership had been reduced from 30 to six by age and illness and she was the only member who could still work on the RCS lodges, so the decision had been made to close.
Regional Cancer Services has operated and maintained Regional Lodge and Stramit House, two low-cost accommodation lodges for cancer patients, next to the Coffs Harbour Health Campus, with all cleaning and maintenance services provided by RCS volunteers.
Mrs Casson said she wanted to thank the local service clubs and the public for all the support and fundraising since the service formed in 1987.
She said any money remaining in the coffers after all expenses were paid would go to cancer services.
"Personally I would like the money to go to kids' accommodation, like the new Ronald McDonald House at Westmead Children's Hospital, but it will be a committee decision," she said.
The organisation was the first local group to support low-cost accommodation near hospitals for cancer patients, first supporting Jean Colvin House in Sydney and then deciding to become an autonomous organisation with local accommodation.
Regional Lodge was built near the old hospital in Victoria St. When the hospital was relocated, it was relocated next to the present hospital. Stramit House was a Sawtell Rotary Club building built for the old hospital and also moved.
Mrs Casson said the future of the two buildings was uncertain because they were now landlocked by construction at the health campus, which would prevent the two lodges being moved again.
She said they were on Coffs Harbour City Council land under a 20-year peppercorn lease, shared with Shearwater Lodge, which still had nine years to run.