Coalfields Cancer Support Group recently passed another significant fundraising milestone, raising $12,000 in the first six months of 2018.
The support group has now raised more than $600,000 for the Calvary Mater Newcastle cancer research department since it started its fundraising in 2000.
The group has almost a dozen members – aged mostly in their seventies and eighties – and conducts its fundraising through raffles, coach trips, bucket drops at the local footy, and bingo days, among other ventures.
Many members have relatives who have had cancer, while others are battling the illness themselves.
The group's president, Marie Main had a son who died of cancer and she feels inspired to continue fundraising because of him, but also because of how many people in the local community are impacted by the illness.
"Being amongst the community and seeing how much cancer there is really keeps you going," Mrs Main said.
"We won't stop until we drop."
Mrs Main was recently asked to speak at St Philip’s Christian College. She says the experience further inspired her to continue raising money for cancer research when she realised how many young people are touched by cancer.
"I asked how many kids had been impacted by cancer and over 80 raised their hands."
The group raises roughly between $30,000 and $40,000 each year, from which the Mater has established the Coalfields Cancer Support Group Equipment Fund.
This allows researchers to apply for grants for equipment to be used in cancer research.
The fund allows donors to see exactly where their money is going, which is something the Coalfields Cancer Support Group greatly values.
"We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t know where the money is going," Mrs Main said.
"What we raise goes straight to cancer research."
In continuing their tradition of transparency, the Mater will invite groups like the Coalfields Cancer Support Group to an open day in September see how their donation has been used.
"People like to see where their money goes," said Dr Jennette Sakoff, Calvary Mater Newcastle’s chief hospital scientist in medical oncology.
"Every cent goes to the equipment.
"Without community fundraising, research in the Hunter would be significantly stifled and slowed.”
The money goes towards a wide variety of equipment to be used for cancer research, including big things like microscopes and imaging machines, to the smaller things like fridges and freezers.
Coalfields Cancer Support Group has some upcoming fundraising events, including Christmas in July at Buttai Barn on Friday, July 27. Other events include a coach trip to Ballarat in March 2019, as well as bucket drops at football games.
For bookings for Christmas in July and the coach trip, call Marie on 0432 253 717.
The group meets at Cessnock Leagues Club on the first Monday of the month at 2pm and new members are welcome.
Find the group on Facebook here.