A specialist breast and prostate cancer nurse has been appointed to support patients and their carers.
Toni Jakins will be based at the Goondiwindi hospital but will also cover the wider region, initially one day per week.
Mrs Jakins will provide a free service which can include coordinating appointments or helping with forms.
“My support can be psychological, physical, educational or helping to navigate the health system, for instance,” she said.
“For patients and also for their family or carers.”
Mrs Jakins has previously worked at the hospital as a clinical nurse, she also works at Kaloma, and has undergone specialist training at LaTrobe university to fulfill this role.
“I think this is a really important role where people have previously had to travel for such support and having this available locally is what the community needs, and especially so those from a lower socioeconomic background don’t slip under the radar,” Mrs Jakins said.
The creation of the position is due to the hard work and perseverance of local volunteers as part of the Breast and Prostate Cancer Association of Qld including Gundy’s Gloria Cory; St George ladies Amelia Sevil, Emily Martin and Emma Montgomery; and in partnership with the management of Goondiwindi hospital including director of nursing, Lorraine McMurtrie.
Mrs Cory, who has provided peer support since 2003, gave a special thanks to the Weengallon Pink Ladies Day committee, whose financial support has made this possible, and who has also funded a nurse at St George.
“They have pledged to fund the position for the first three years, until the Darling Downs Health Service takes over,” she said. “We can not thank them enough.”
Mrs Cory said it had been a real community effort. “Last year we raised $11,000 in Goondiwindi from various events and donations.”
“The Weengallon committee has provided a substantial portion of the funding but we have also had support from local businesses and individuals including Rod Gibson Ford, the Old Time Dance Group, the Goondiwindi B&S committee, Pam Schramm, the Goondiwindi Mahjong Group, the medical centre and Shed Girls. All these donations and fundraising events have enabled us to deliver this wonderful new service,” she said.
“And while we are excited for Toni to get started working one day a week our goal is to raise funds to allow her to work three days per fortnight. I think once word gets out about the service, her clients will grow exponentially.”
You can contact Toni by phoning 0400 198 937 and leaving a message.