I would like to thank all committee members and volunteers who have assisted us with our works and conveying our ethos of service to others over the last 12 months. As always those who volunteer are busy people with such a sense of benevolence that they are willing to give so freely of their time to support others. I thank you as I am very aware your commitment impacts other facets of your lives. I can only reinforce that from the coal face, where we interact with the patients and their families, the end result of the support we are able to provide continues to have a very positive and sometimes life changing impact.
Similarly, family members get drawn into the fold and I thank them for allowing Blush to consume precious time to support our cause.
Thanks to our Committee Members
2022 enabled Blush to further consolidate working under the umbrella of the structure proposed by our strategic planning in 2020. Even more so this year it is very noticeable that this streamlining and division of tasks has allowed the charity to run smoothly. Building on our expanding profile from 2021 Blush has consolidated a stronger presence and attachment to and in our local community. I appreciate that at times the subcommittees and working groups may have felt the Board was not aware and fully supporting their activities. I would like to reassure you this is certainly not the case- the Board is very cognizant of the tireless work that has continued throughout the year. There are too many to name you all personally but please take this as a personal thankyou as we know you have been giving so much time and energy to allow all the varied aspects of Blush to continue.
Thanks to our Board
I need to thank the Board- both our ongoing members and also the new members who really hit the ground running. Thinking we had had an unsettling 2021 out of left-centre there were some more difficult times to be weathered. I think when you have your head down assisting a cause it is sad that individuals who may have personal agendas are not mindful that they may be derailing the efforts of well-meaning apolitical people. Supported by solicitors and with the need to engage a crisis media company the board maintained the decorum to navigate this concern.
Changes in 2022
The Funding agreement was executed earlier this year. This has seen increased expenditure to the Breast Care Nurses and with generous administration from St Andrews we have now been able to fill the paid position to lighten the load mainly from the secretary’s and the Blush Care Nurses paperwork content. St Andrews allows us to “subcontract” this position which enables us to remain unencumbered with payroll and super contributions to be met by Blush.
The Board devoted time to attend training in Governance issues and this is becoming very important to ensure our Charity operates under the correct guidelines.
Today we will execute some amendments to the constitution as it is becoming increasingly obvious that our support is extending to other cancer patients. Time permitting, we hope to formalize this alliance a little more with the consultants and staff caring for patients with cancers other than breast cancer.
Events in 2022
The Bridge Walk is certainly a highlight of our year with appreciation to the Events committee for organizing this gathering.
The 2022 Forum included a Medical Forum run in parallel the Educational Forum. This was another hands-on day for all volunteers. It was a very well executed and we need to recognize the ongoing support we receive from Sullivan and Nicolaides and Lexus.
The Lexus General Manager spoke at the Forum of their Takumi – the artisans in the company at the top of the tree. Their goal is simple – the pursuit of perfection in their chosen field, whether it be paintwork or welding, vehicle dynamics or interior crafting. They are responsible for keeping up the high standards Lexus demands of its vehicles. Every day before starting work they have to fold an origami cat. But here’s the catch – they have to fold the cat with just one hand, and in under 90 seconds, and it has to be their non-dominant hand. Just as Lexus have their Takami, Toowoomba has a great team of skilled clinicians, Allied Health and Blush to look after patients.
I had a sense of loss not being in the patient Forum – this is always a great day and I thank Eliza for emceeing. While this is an educational day the platform it confers for patient interaction is priceless.
Blushing October was a very successful month with some well-known generous people such as Charmaine Batten, Wendy Bassingthwaighte and Lucia Targato hosting large events to support Blush being joined by some new and individuals and businesses either selling Merchandise or hosting events . It was an honour to go to work and see a sea of Blush shirts at Platinum and St Andrews for most of October and this was expanded by the great Blush Scrub shirts being donned in theatre, wards and DBC.
The Hutchie’s Blush Ball was made possible in large part to Hutchison Builders who came on as the major sponsor for the Ball. In addition to other sponsors of Lexus, Robertson and Scannell, Mort and Co, Qld Xray with support from Lannah Dunn, Cracker Print, Brown Brothers and many other companies and individuals, the ball was a wonderful event with over $63,000 in profit.
Sponsors & Grants
There have been a number of major sponsors and grants this year. We thank The Hand Heart Pocket Grant, QCF Regional Grant ,ongoing support from The Clive Berghofer Group with our second $20,000 donation, one patient Veronica Sommerfield donated $5000 and numerous other individuals and groups who have raised funds and expanded our presence in our area and beyond.
Several community groups continue to support us - the Zonta Clubs, Rotary, Toowoomba Golf Club. Many new businesses and groups have been generous with their donations. This list is certainly not complete and there are many individuals, businesses, schools and more who have given time to support Blush. Thank you to the Events team for coordinating the events.
A very large part of funds raised is from the sale of merchandise - this is a huge task and we need to thank Lisa McDonald, Tracy Blatzoff, Chris Tape and Wendy Bassingthwaighte. In October this is almost a full-time job and we appreciate the time and precision in keeping all of this stock being delivered, collected, counted and then onto banking. Additionally, Wendy again ran her cake stalls at St Andrews raising a remarkable amount.
I would like to thank both Vicki Holmes and Sarah Weilandt as the workload in receipting, invoicing and balancing all of the ins and outs of our finances this year has been very hectic.
The IT support from Rosemary has been immeasurable. I can’t imagine the number of hours that have been dedicated to this task. The teamwork involved in getting the Newsletter out has also been a very large task- but one that I think is so important in keeping our ongoing and upcoming activities highlighted for all to see. Social media has had a very strong polished presence for Blush - thankyou to Leanne Gillam and also to Tahlia Pawli. This also relies on all of the committee sending forward the stories and photos – thank you for assisting in growing the profile and sharing some wonderful stories of giving and caring.
To the end of October there has been:-
- Forty women seen through the Advanced Cancer Group,
- about 145 new patients, so therefore 140 fluffy ducks and drainage bags and post operative bras along with the Blush Bundles were distributed.
- Close to 3500 Episodes of care performed by the Breast Care Nurses,
- 35 ladies through the Fight Back with Fitness program,
- 140 attendees at the Blush Forum.
- Over 140 people and a couple of dogs who participated in the Blush Bridge Walk.
These figures don’t count the patient-to-patient interactions which are facilitated by the platforms that allow them to connect. Also to note are the “guest speaking” events whereby talking about Blush and Breast cancer we increase awareness of disease and the need to screen.
The Nurses have continued to provide a service which goes far beyond their described roles. We acknowledge Gaye and Mary who have managed with their patient workload, the ABC group, the Fitlab, the forum and additional attendance and speaking roles for businesses and other groups. We welcome Tahlia and Ellie into these roles and hope their positions will grow. In addition, we also acknowledge the contribution of Alex Bryant for chairing the ABC group and moving this group to an escalated level of care and support.
The ABC Forum is gazetted for the 3rd June 2023 with an introduction of a new initiative supported by the Board- a meeting group hosted by Psychologist Gary Logan to provide mechanisms to assist the support people of patients in the ABC Group. We will then continue with this group meeting parallel to every second ABC group meeting
We were able to support USQ with the first instalment of a yearly donation of $5000 – the call for research is being formulated and will be centred around our patient cohort and it has also been shown that involvement in research has positive impacts on patients.
Blush is very cautious that all support services we embark on are based on best practice guidelines and meet the needs of our patient cohort. We will continue to look for additional supports we can implement
We will again give the Patricia Barr $250 Xmas support cheque to a family in need and again this year another supporter of Blush has offered their family beach holiday unit for several weeks for a patient and their family to have a break away. I spoke with the family who were able to go and it could not have been more timely: They were in the middle of treatment, very financially stressed and coping as a very young family with the uncertainty of upcoming treatments and their long term prognosis.
Looking Forward to 2023
- We are going into 2023 with gazetted dates for the major Blush Functions and venues near to confirmed.
- There will be a High Tea on 6th May,
- The Empire is rebooked for 30th September,
- The Bridge Walk on 20th October, and
- The Forum on 28th
- Three cake stalls will hopefully be centres around Easter, October, and Christmas.
Thank you for the Year that was 2022 and we look forward to another marathon in 2023. Last year I spoke about resilience and I thought as a collective group, we were as tough as nails. In fact I think we are so much more than that - a group of compassionate and empathic individuals whom as a group are changing outcomes and easing distress for those unfortunate to have a diagnosis of cancer.
" Life’s persistent and most urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?' "
Martin Luther King Jr.
Blush Cancer Care Inc.