24 Hour Fight provides much-needed hospital equipment

Sandra Sparkes of Minto with nurse Erin Williamson with the cooling caps, during the special tour of Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre.
Sandra Sparkes of Minto with nurse Erin Williamson with the cooling caps, during the special tour of Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre.

Chemotherapy is a hard enough struggle for women fighting cancer - so losing their hair feels like a second stab.

But not in Macarthur.

This is thanks to special cooling caps (not usually available at public hospitals) which help women keep their follicles during treatment at Campbelltown Hospital's Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre.

The caps are just one of the many "added extras" provided by Macarthur's unique 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer charity.

In 2017, Sandra Sparkes of Minto was one of the first patients to successfully use the new technology.

When her daughter - well-known Camden identity Louise Howarth of Pineapple Marketing and Promotions - visited Sandra during her treatment she noticed the cooling caps had been donated by Macarthur's 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer.

On the spot she decided to become a sponsor of the charity.

"It was at this point that I truly realised the impact of the Fight and how lucky we are as a community to have it," Ms Howarth said.

Ms Sparkes and Ms Howarth were last week among 30 other sponsors and supporters on a special tour of the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre to see first-hand where money raised by the charity goes.

They visited the chemotherapy suite, the radiation treatment area and the assessment unit, as director Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina and his staff showcased the donated equipment and answered questions.

"It was a fantastic initiative and greatly appreciated by all," said Sue McGarrity, deputy chairperson of the Fight.

Campbelltown Hospital general manager Alison Derrett also joined the guests and praised local charity.

"The 24 Hour Fight and Campbelltown/Camden hospitals work together to provide some amazing services and equipment to make life just that bit more comfortable for patients and families," she said.

Director of radiation therapy Odette King with 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer chairman Warren Morrison and Bruce Christison of Club Menangle as they check out the personalised moulds used to help patients keep still during CT scans.

Director of radiation therapy Odette King with 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer chairman Warren Morrison and Bruce Christison of Club Menangle as they check out the personalised moulds used to help patients keep still during CT scans.

Here are just a few other examples of the tangible benefits the charity is providing:

  • Purchase of a highly specialised laser machine to treat bladder stones and bladder tumours - previously one had to be borrowed when needed from Liverpool Hospital with subsequent delays to patient treatment
  • Purchase of a 12-seater wheelchair-accessible patient transport bus
  • Eight recliner chairs to accommodate relatives who need to sleep overnight at the Oncology Ward at Campbelltown Hospital to support relatives receiving treatment
  • Staff training for specialised paediatric care nurses
  • Purchase of specialised mattresses, chairs, cushions for loan to terminally ill patients at home
  • iPads and iTunes vouchers for children receiving cancer treatment
  • Two gas commode chairs for use by patients in the new Oncology Ward and for the Palliative Care Unit at Camden Hospital
  • Funding for the production and dissemination of a DVD for families explaining the treatments at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, and also explaining the services at the Camden Palliative Care Unit
  • Eight Posy Fall Monitors for loan to home based and palliative care ward patients to help avoid injury from falls
  • Funding for exercise specialists to assist cancer patients during treatment and in recovery, based on current research that supports increased survival rates.