Glynnis Contor performed a Tai Chi demonstration at Palmview Village's Biggest Morning Tea.
Glynnis Contor performed a Tai Chi demonstration at Palmview Village's Biggest Morning Tea. Nick Wright

Communities share a cuppa for cancer research

DONATIONS were pouring in faster than the tea and coffee as Mackay went all out to support Australia's Biggest Morning Tea today.

Determined to play their role in finding cures for cancer, workplaces, groups and organisations around the region were keen to support the event, which also tied into National Volunteers Week.

Their donations will contribute to cancer research and support services through the Queensland Cancer Council.

Cancer Council volunteer Steve Ross was at Icon Cancer Centre Mackay's event. He has volunteered with the centre for about a year, sitting with patients going through chemotherapy and providing emotional support to take their minds off their imminent procedures.

Mr Ross said it provided a good distraction for those going through tough times, particularly when volunteers were able to relate to what patients were going through.

"Some people get worried about it, others have accepted the fact they're sick and need treatment,” he said.

"I've had a couple of little run-ins with cancer myself, so it's just a way of giving back a little bit.

"When you walk away from here and people have a smile on their face ... hopefully it changes their thinking a little bit. Sometimes it's pretty easy to feel sorry for yourself when you have cancer. I've been through that a fair bit, so it's handy to have that distraction.”

Icon Cancer Centre site manager Brock Ditton praised the work of the volunteers who support the centre.

He said having volunteers who could share their experiences and provide peer support for patients was invaluable.

"By having that emotional link to something they've personally gone through ... I really don't know how to put it,” Mr Ditton said.

"Some of our staff have never been through this. They work in an oncology environment, they see patients from initial diagnosis through to treatment, but for them to be able to understand what the patient is going through can be challenging.”

At Palmview Village, their Biggest Morning Tea event included a fashion parade with the Salvation Army, a Tai Chi presentation and several prizes up for grabs in a raffle.

The Palmview retirement village community typically raises between $1500 and $2500 annually.

"We love doing it, ... we are actually helping find a cure for cancer,” Palmview Village sales manager Tania Gibbons said.

"We've all been touched by someone in our family. I've had two brothers who have passed away from cancer, so this means a lot to me and to our residents.”



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