MEDIA RELEASES

Promise to Northland Fulfilled and Celebrated

Raising three million in three years to build a local cancer treatment unit sounded nigh on impossible when first suggested but Northland has done it and the public are invited to celebrate this Saturday at its open day.

The Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre was completed in September and will be functioning from November 17. It is the result of collaboration between Northland DHB and the community, led by The Northland Community Foundation.

Based at Whangarei Hospital, the building, which began in February this year, is purpose-built to replace the cramped and inadequate facilities for cancer treatment, currently housed in the hospital building. The new centre will provide significantly more space, privacy, multi-disciplinary meeting areas, designated areas for children’s treatment and room to grow for the future.

Says Oncology clinical nurse manager Maggie Prentice: “We have been excitedly watching the building progress from our window all year and the end result is just great. There is so much more space for patients, whanau and staff alike. Patients are looking forward to the move. To have treatment in a purpose-built building with opportunities for their journey is a little easier.”

She says over 15 staff will be based at the unit with others coming and going.

The Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre, named after a prominent Whangarei businessman and philanthropist who died in November 2000, is the result of a vision five years ago. That vision, driven by two key people: Jack Broome and Karen Roach, became Project Promise, which was subsequently supported by many hundreds of Northlanders involved in a huge variety of fundraising events and activities. Together they raised over $3 million towards the $5 million project (Northland DHB funded the other $2 million) to make the cancer centre “promise” come true.

The Carney family trust made a generous donation and have backed the project from day one. Mr Carney’s widow Mary says the end result is a great achievement by the people of Northland who have contributed in many ways to make the building a reality.  

“This Unit will benefit Northland families with regards to treatment. I am very pleased to be part of this project and I know Jim would have been very enthusiastic about it too.”

NCF chairman Richard Ayton says, despite hitting a rough patch halfway during fundraising, due to the global financial downturn and the Canterbury earthquakes, after a final push to reach the $3 million target, they were able to announce the conclusion of a successful campaign.

“It’s pleasing to see the end result of everyone’s hard work.”

Northland DHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain says, over the past few years there has been a huge growth (a tripling) in demand for cancer services in Northland. Hundreds of cancer patients each year will receive over 6000 treatments and appointments in the new centre.

“The community support has been astounding and I couldn’t help getting swept up in the energy and positivity of this project myself. There are so many people to thank, it isn’t feasible to do it personally – but every contribution of time, money, fundraising, goods or services is gratefully and thankfully acknowledged.”

An invitation-only opening ceremony of the Jim Carney Cancer Unit will be held Friday November 7, which will be attended by the Minister of Health. On Saturday 8 an open day at the centre begins at 10am – 3pm and will include guided tours, a bouncy castle, face painting, sausage sizzle, tasty treats and healthy living promotions.




(Left to right): NCF chairman Richard Ayton, More FM’s Angela Gordon and John Markby, Oncology clinical nurse manager Maggie Prentice, Lions liaison co-ordinator Colin Twyman, NCF manager Ros Martin, Lions’ Lindsay Caley, director strategic projects Mike Cummins and RDT Pacific project manager Simon Wilson




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