Breast cancer battle sparked a movement

When Ann Johnson’s daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer it sparked a movement that now, five years after Tamara Glasgow’s death, is helping other seriously ill Illawarra residents.

Each year Ms Johnson and her Woonona craft group host an event for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, with all money raised going to Community Cancer Link.

This year the community group plans to use the funds to purchase equipment that will allow palliative care patients to spend their last days at home.

With a price tag of $2500 each, syringe drivers are at the top of the wish-list.

The devices provide symptom management, relieving nausea, pain and vomiting.

NSW Health northern region palliative care clinical nurse consultant Antonella Vergis said the equipment allowed clients to remain at home in their final days.

‘‘The majority of people want to stay home because it’s an environment where it’s safe, it’s a known environment and your family members can be there to provide care and love,’’ she said.

Ms Vergis said the devices would not only ease the stress on families, but also on the primary health nurses who provided care throughout a patient’s journey, and later the palliative care nurses.

For Ms Johnson, the fund-raiser was a way of honouring her daughter’s memory while also helping ease the burden of cancer on other families.

‘‘When she passed I thought, this is my way of keeping her memory alive and helping everybody – it doesn’t matter what sort of cancer, it touches everyone,’’ she said.

Ms Johnson hoped to raise $6000 at yesterday’s event.

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