Grateful patient drives fundraiser for cancer care


A breast cancer patient, her family and supporters have raised $13,600 for the L. Rigby Centre for cancer care at Wonthaggi Hospital. 

The patient, Cheryl Wilson of Wattle Bank, organised the online fundraiser via mycause. In return for donations, Cheryl’s son Reeve Fisher and his friends Joel Goldsmith, Chase Kruse, Luke Speed, Kevya Kaydarts, Oscar Malcolm and Harry West shaved their heads in support of Cheryl, who shaved her own head before losing her hair due to chemotherapy. 

Cheryl has received chemotherapy at the L. Rigby Centre for six months and will have a further 12 months of chemotherapy, in addition to radiation. She also underwent surgery at Wonthaggi Hospital to have a lump removed. 

“It’s just so amazing that we have the L. Rigby Centre at Wonthaggi Hospital to care for our community. The staff are just incredible,” she said. 

Cheryl said she never expected the fundraiser to raise so much money. 

“It just got bigger and bigger. There were people who donated who didn’t even know my son and his friends,” she said. 

“It was really quite emotional. I couldn’t believe there were so many generous people in our town and surrounds.” 

Cheryl said the L. Rigby Centre and surgical service at Wonthaggi Hospital enabled her to receive treatment locally, rather than travel long distances to receive care elsewhere and be away from her family. 

“I could still pick the kids up from school and still do normal activities,” she said. 

“The hospital is just 10 minutes up the road and after treatment, I could be home and in bed within 10 minutes.”

Cheryl described her breast cancer diagnosis as the “biggest shock of my life”. 

“You always hear about other people having breast cancer but you never think it could be you,” she said. 

Bass Coast Health (BCH) CEO Jan Child said that Cheryl, her family and the Bass Coast community were inspiring in their support of the fundraiser and the L. Rigby Centre. 

“We are incredibly grateful to Cheryl for her time and energy in organising this fundraiser when she already has so much going on in her life,” she said. 

“We are also truly touched by the efforts of Cheryl’s son Reeve and his friends for losing their hair. 

“Our staff take great pride in being able to provide cancer care to our local community and the L. Rigby Centre has been pretty much funded for all of its infrastructure and its equipment because local people choose to give locally. To see our community get behind our service, and raise much needed funds for our growing services, is truly heart-warming.” 

BCH has grown its cancer service over the years to now include Medical Oncologists, Haematologists, Breast Surgeons, a Radiation Oncologist, a Dermatologist, a Palliative Care Medical Specialist, a McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse, a Melanoma Specialist and a Lymphoedema Physiotherapist, along with many other Allied Health professionals and the L. Rigby Centre cancer team. 

Wonthaggi Hospital also provides Radiology services, CT, MRI and Ultrasound, and also has Breast Screen Victoria onsite