As our local hospitals battle an inequity in the distribution of government funding, the 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur stepped into its 20th year having raised a staggering $5.04 million to improve cancer services in Macarthur.

Announcing this at the launch of the charity’s fundraising year, chairperson Warren Morrison said, “I am extremely proud to report that in 2022 alone, together we raised an incredible $240,000 – that’s everyday people supported by local and caring businesses.”

Speaking at the launch, Dr Andrew Ong said, “Unfortunately the funding of our public hospitals does not match community needs, and the distribution of this funding is highly, highly inequitable.

“Macarthur suffers from local politics and perception that it is not as busy as inner city hospitals, but I can tell you on a personal and professional level that it is not.”

Dr Ong said that from his experience, the inner city hospitals are often allocated the lion’s share of funding.

“And that is where this organisation comes in,” he said.

“The 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer will continue to be a critical part in supporting the development of cancer services in Macarthur especially when a large part of our city’s population is moving out this way, and I can foresee us getting even busier, more specialised and performing even more complex cancer work in the future.”

Founded by Fred Borg OAM so that “every dollar raised in Macarthur stays in Macarthur”, this popular grassroots charity contributes to improve the care, comfort and education of local people who are undergoing cancer treatment at the Cancer Therapy Centre, Oncology Ward and Children’s Cancer Ward at Campbelltown Hospital and Palliative Care Ward and Home Outreach at Camden Hospital.

“Our commitment is to provide equipment and things for our cancer treatment centres that just would not be available to them otherwise,” Deputy chairperson Sue McGaritty said.

Dr Ong recalled an early example of this.

“I first started in Macarthur in 2009, the hospital had about 210 beds at peak capacity, breast service was okay, no thyroid surgical service, and the breast sentinel node probe was fit for a museum!” he said.

“One of the first things that 24 Hour did was to help us with the sentinel node probe; it is still being used today and has been used on hundreds of cancer patients at the public hospital. It is still the most advanced probe in the world.”

Dr Annette Tognela, Director, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre thanked the charity for its ongoing support in improving the lives of people living with cancer in our community.

As is tradition, the colour of the charity’s new T-shirt was revealed – fluorescent yellow. And this year, the patients’ bus will be wrapped to match!