Carer volunteer service in for a boost

Monday 18 February, 2008

The Cancer Council Victoria is calling on generous Victorians to help support the thousands of local residents caring for a friend or relative with cancer by donating to the Family Cancer Connect Appeal.

If successful, the appeal, which is aiming to raise $500,000, will triple the number of people who can access telephone support from a Family Cancer Connect volunteer. These volunteers have first-hand experience of caring for a friend or family member during a cancer journey.

"The Family Cancer Connect telephone support service links people affected by cancer with a specially trained volunteer who has been through a similar experience," Cancer Information and Support Services Director Doreen Akkerman said.

"It's an important service, but we're currently only able to staff it with 10 volunteers with experience caring for someone facing cancer."

Because Family Cancer Connect is limited in size, one in five callers to the service is unable to be matched to a volunteer. While these callers can talk to a cancer nurse, this is not the same as speaking with another carer.

"The Family Cancer Connect service is of great importance to those affected by cancer, but unfortunately there are just not enough volunteers who have cared for a loved one facing cancer. If this appeal is successful, we'll be able to launch an extensive recruitment and training program, allowing us to triple the number of carers available to provide support," Ms Akkerman said.

"We need generous Victorians to help fund this vital service," Ms Akkerman said. "It not only links people affected by cancer with a specially trained volunteer, but also gives them emotional and practical support in a time of great need."

For more information about how to donate to the Family Cancer Connect Appeal please call 1300 65 65 85 or donate online.