2018 marks 25 years since the formation of our Association I would like to share a brief history of how BPCAQ began.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Steering Committee was held on Monday 13th December 1993. Throughout 1993 correspondence between the Hancock Family Breast Cancer Foundation Chairman, Gina Rinehart, and the founding members reveal the vision and purpose of establishing a charitable organization in Queensland.
Early Minutes reveal that the association was originally named “The Queensland Breast Cancer Foundation” and the founding members included Office Bearers: Mrs Wendy Callinan as Chairman, Mr John Gallagher QC as Treasurer , other committee members included Mrs Kay Bryan, Ms Rebecca Johnston, Mrs Glen Mactaggart, Dr David Martin and Mrs Helen Salmon as Secretary.
At a Meeting held on March 15, 1994 discussions regarding incorporation reported; “Mrs Salmon reported that the Department of Consumer Affairs had objected to the name “Queensland Breast Cancer Foundation” and had suggested “Breast Cancer Association of Queensland Incorporated”. In the 25 years since those first discussions between Gina Rinehart and Wendy Callinan the Association has grown and delivered an incredible amount of services to breast cancer patients and nurses throughout Queensland.
After many years of discussion and debate about expanding services to assist people with other types of cancer, in 2012 the board identified that prostate cancer had similar statistics and the rural and regional communities had little to no services for men with prostate cancer. Amendment’s to the constitution and the association name to reflect the expansion of services was adopted at the AGM held on the 18th September 2012 BCAQ formally became known as “The Breast and Prostate Cancer Association of Queensland Incorporated” or BPCAQ.
Our list of achievements is extensive and it would be difficult to list them all here, but some of our highlights include; establishing and educating numerous specialist nurses throughout Queensland, funding important research projects, conducting annual seminars, providing financial assistance grants to hundreds of patients, and funding for hospital equipment. However, I think one of our greatest achievements was engagement of community support through the establishment of subcommittee’s throughout Queensland. Our focus and mission has been to improve support and services for patients and nurses living in rural and regional districts and through the subcommittees we can better identify what and where services are needed in each district.
Our list of fundraising events is just as extensive including balls, dinners, lunches, high teas, fashion parades, race days, golf days, fun runs, trivia nights, and cup-cake stalls. Our board members, subcommittee groups and supporters, all who do so voluntarily, work hard to raise those much needed funds so that we can continue to provide essential services.
I’ll take this opportunity to acknowledge some of our current and longest servicing Brisbane board members who have been actively involved for 10 years or more; Michael Crouch joined in February 1995 is our longest serving member, our Patron, Dr Glenda Powell joined in September 1997, our Vice Patron Kay Mc Grath since May 1994, Mrs Gina Fairfax joined in December 2001, Mrs Sandy Cassidy in November 2002, Tracey Plumridge our office secretary since August 2003 and I joined in September 2006.
Past President’s include Wendy Callinan 13/12/1993-24/09/2002 and Roger Traves (24/09/2002-09/09/2014) and our Patrons; Justice Margaret White (25/05/1994-30/06/13), Dr Glenda Powell (Vice Patron 01/01/98-10/09/13, Patron 10/9/13-current), Kay McGrath (Vice Patron 25/05/1994-current).
Our subcommittee volunteers have been at the grass roots of the organisation for the past 15+ years include; Barcaldine/Westn’ Breast established in 2008, Blackbutt 2011, Chinchilla 2012, Emerald 2004, Fraser Coast/Wide Bay 2014, Goondiwindi 2012, Mitchell 2008, St George 2005, Toowoomba 2008, Rockhampton 2014. They really are the inspirational heroes of BPCAQ and they are all to be congratulated on their incredible efforts in improving support and services for their districts.
As we reflect upon the 25 years since BCAQ began we also look ahead with pride at the projects and initiatives we are working on for this year and into the future. It is with great pleasure to announce that we are working with the Goondiwindi Health Service to establish a breast and prostate cancer care nurse for that region. Over the past few years we have been working with our volunteer in the region, Gloria Cory, to establish this much needed service. We began by offering scholarships to nurses working in the region, then funding the position became our next priority, which is where the Weengallon Ladies Day committee came to our assistance. The Weengallon Ladies proudly supported the St George nurse and when we expressed our desire to start a similar service for Goondiwindi, the Weengallon committee kindly and generously pledged to provide substantial financial support, for which we are extremely grateful. This truly has been a huge community effort to realise this project.
We are also delighted to report that we are providing funding for 5 nurse scholarships and a further 5 nurses funding to attend the Cancer Nurses Society of Australia congress that will be held in Brisbane in June this year. We have also provided approximately $45,000 in financial assistance grants to over 60 patients in this financial year and will be hosting our annual seminar in Blackbutt in September.
To be able to fund these projects it takes an enormous amount of work from our volunteers and supporters and we are grateful to all of those who have donated or organized events. Not only do these events raise much needed funds, but they also raise awareness in the community which is an extremely important part of our services also.
To all of our volunteers, members, supporters past and present we thank you for your part in ensuring the ongoing growth and success of BPCAQ. If you are interested in becoming a committee member, please contact our office.
Dr Marie Burke