7 August 2018

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MCG event unites cancer victims, survivors Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au UNDERSTANDABLY, nurse Jo Lovelock was “shocked, distressed and overwhelmed” by her breast cancer diagnosis in 2003. But she was certainly not defeated. The Mt Martha resident battled through with the help of family and friends who “ran around after the children, fed us through my chemotherapy, assisted us with driving to and from chemotherapy and radiotherapy – and even cleaned my house”. During the early days, Ms Lovelock said she received excellent medical treatment but found that there was no psycho-social support on the Mornington Peninsula. “Our surgeon got a small group of us under-45s together and we met in each other’s homes to compare notes,” she said. “We sat around sharing stories and love with each other and, although it was beneficial, that was it.” This led her to approach The Bays Hospital which offered space for a support group affiliated with the Cancer Council and Breast Cancer Network Australia. The volunteers received training and by 2014, the afternoon group had 12-25 members and the evening group from four to 10. “Breast cancer has changed my life and my career path as I now work as a breast care nurse,” she said. “It has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people; to be supported and support others, including volunteering opportunities locally,

Not alone: Jo Lovelock says Sunday’s annual Field of Women event at the MCG “empowers” women. Picture: Yanni

nationally and overseas.” With another breast care nurse, Sue Fletcher, she formed Breast Intentions at the Bays Hospital where they had worked together as midwives. “I’m still co-facilitating support groups with Sue and Felicity Carson, another Breast Cancer Network Australia nurse. BCNA was also in its

early days then – and remember there was no online support.” Ms Lovelock was speaking in the lead up to BCNA’s fifth Field of Women event at the MCG on Sunday 12 August. The “empowering” event aims to unite thousands as they stand on the hallowed turf in the shape of a pink

ing them to connect, talk, network face-to-face or online. “Enjoy the good and the bad of your breast cancer experience. “Put your hand up for help as most people want to assist but do not know how. “Don’t feel you have to support others; do some self-care. Remember you are a woman with a breast cancer diagnosis – it is only part of your life - although a rather large part. “Remember to stop and breathe, take time out to enjoy simple pleasures.” Ms Lovelock said the Field of Women event gave those attending the opportunity to “regroup, celebrate and commemorate those women and men who are living with and have died from breast cancer”. “We will have 47 angels being remembered on 12 August at the MCG,” she said. “We will stand with thousands of amazing men, women and children to celebrate life.” Field of Women starts at 11am before the Melbourne vs Sydney Swans AFL match. The cost is $59 for adults with children 15 years and under free. The ticket includes the event, the match, commemorative backpack, including a pink poncho and keyring, and certificate of participation. Visit bcna.org.au/fieldofwomen

lady representing the 18,235 people who have been, or will be, diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Their support will show those who are going through a diagnosis “that they are not alone”. “I would like the women coming after me to have a better experience than I did,” Ms Lovelock said, advis-

Fresh food a weekly help for families SERVING fresh food to needy people over five years is a noteworthy achievement. So Mornington Community Information and Support Centre staff and volunteers celebrated the event with a cake cutting at St Marks Uniting Church last week. Manager Stuart Davis-Meehan paid tribute to the “hard-working volunteers who make the program happen” and, in particular, volunteer coordinators Shelley Dewerson-Bogue and Kay Crellin. “Every Thursday our amazing volunteers unload the Second Bite truck,

sort and display the food, and ensure a comfortable free shopping experience for all those accessing the service,” Mr Davis-Meehan said. Produce is supplied by SecondBite, which collects food that would have gone to waste and offers it free of charge through 841 programs across the country: one being the community information and support centre’s fresh food program. A recent national survey by Edith Cowan University found that 36 per cent of people had experienced “low or very low food security at some time”, Mr Davis-Meehan said. As well as handing out fresh food, the community centre runs meals and bread programs, provides food

vouchers through its emergency relief program, and hosts a Christmas lunch. Last year the fresh food program assisted an average 45 individuals and families each week. This ensured they had access to nutritious food, allowed them to reduce their weekly grocery spend and better manage their household budgets. The alternative is that they would often go without food for themselves and their children. n The St Vincent de Paul Society is also finding that there is no shortage of individuals and families on the Mornington Peninsula and in Frankston in need of help with food and accommodation. See Page 4

VOLUNTEERS Annie Reid and Rhonda Birchall, right, unloading supplies at Mornington. Picture: Yanni



Valid until 31st Aug 2018 Buy 1 Main Meal and receive a 2nd Meal for FREE* *Applies to meal of lesser value, max discount $18.50

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Conditions apply, valid Mon-Fri for Lunch & MonThurs for dinner. Not valid on public holidays or with any other offer. Limit 2 coupons per table. Only valid at The Rye Hotel Bistro till.


Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au

2415 Point Nepean Road, Rye Beach www.ryehotel.com.au | 5985 2277

Southern Peninsula News

7 August 2018