Northlanders to get their own cancer treatment centre
Promise kept: Northlanders to get their own cancer treatment centre
People in one of the poorest and most economically challenged regions of New Zealand have dug deep into their own pockets to find $3 million needed to build their own cancer treatment centre. Three years and eight months after the Northland Community Foundation (NCF) pledged to raise the money for the centre in Whangarei the target has been reached and exceeded.
The fundraising drive, known as Project Promise, has raised $3.67 million in total.
Two weeks ago, after a mammoth two-month push to raise the final million dollars needed to get the tendering process for the build underway by the end of October, it was tantalisingly close to the $3 million target. But it was still $383,000 short.
Then came the
astounding news of a million-dollar bequest from an
anonymous benefactor in the Bay of Islands. The donor gifted
the money to guarantee the success of the Project Promise
endeavour and to ensure that the new cancer treatment centre
would have money to assist with cancer services in the
“It was like a huge weight lifting from our shoulders and we could scarcely believe the generosity of the gift,” said Richard Ayton, Chairperson of the Northland Community Foundation.
“We’d set ourselves this immense goal at the start of September to re-energise the Project Promise appeal and to come up with the final million in just two months. I was cautiously optimistic we could do it but, truth to tell, there was always an element of doubt. Northlanders rose to the occasion though, as we knew they would, and now we’re able to draw a line under this exercise and say: promise kept.”
Northland cancer patients currently either have to travel to Auckland or are treated in small facility in Whangarei that offers little or no privacy and has limited space for family or friends.
The centre, which will be built next to the Whangarei Hospital, will be called the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre in memory of a prominent Whangarei businessman and philanthropist who died in November 2000. The family Trust he established has contributed heavily to Project Promise.
It will provide day-stay cancer treatment and related nursing and support services. Facilities will include nine curtained treatment chair spaces and six consultation rooms with beds, a dedicated child and youth area, and a family meeting room.
An 895m² basement could be redeveloped for expansion if more space is needed in future.
Adults who need radiation treatment or
specialist care will still need to travel to Auckland and
children may still receive some treatment at Starship
Children’s Hospital, which has a specialised child cancer
The Northland Community Foundation knew that bequests could potentially turn the Project Promise dream into reality and began promoting this funding mechanism several months ago.
“It’s a totally valid way of
raising a significant amount of money in a short period,”
Ayton said, “and this is exactly what we were trying to
Bequests now comprise $1.28 million of the total amount raised by Project Promise. $275,000 of this was bequested by several Northland Community Foundation Trustees and a second anonymous donor.
When they are realised Project Promise will have raised more than is needed to complete the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre. The extra money will be used to establish an endowment fund for the provision of cancer services in the future and NCF envisages that the proceeds of this fund will be used to equip or update the centre.
The final cost of the centre is expected to be in the region of $5 million but the Northland DHB has agreed to contribute the balance.
“We are immensely grateful to the DHB and to each and every Northlander who has helped us deliver on Project Promise,” Ayton said.
“From the people who have filled our
collection boxes with change and bought bricks to be part of
the BNZ community wall, through to the businesses that have
given so generously and the sports clubs, church groups,
schools and service clubs who have put in thousands of
voluntary hours to raise funds, and to the Carney Family
Trust and the Bay of Islands family who have been such