One for the books: generous donations to give hope to cancer sufferers

IN THE GOOD BOOKS: Central West Cancer Service clinical trials co-ordinator Alison Coote and medical oncologist Peter Fox with Virginia  (seated) and Jenny Cullane, celebrating a $12,000 donation fromthe Cullanes’ book stall. Photo: STEVE GOSCH    0529sgdonate1

IN THE GOOD BOOKS: Central West Cancer Service clinical trials co-ordinator Alison Coote and medical oncologist Peter Fox with Virginia (seated) and Jenny Cullane, celebrating a $12,000 donation fromthe Cullanes’ book stall. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0529sgdonate1

CANCER patients will gain additional access to clinical treatment trials thanks to a $12,000 donation from two Canowindra residents. 

Virginia Cullane, who is undergoing cancer treatment, has run a book store for the past 18 years and found her books were piling up.

“I had a lot of excess stock that wasn’t suitable because I mainly deal in collectibles,” she said.

“It was a good way of cleaning out the shop while raising money.”

Mrs Cullane and her daughter Jenny ran a second-hand book stall during a two-week period, moving more than two tonnes of books, including books from other donors.

“There was about 12,500 of them [books],” she said.

“We didn’t sell any above $5, so it attracted a lot of people because they were buying quite an expensive book for $5.

“I thought if I raised $2-3000, I’d be very happy.”

Mrs Cullane thanked the owners of the vacant shop across the road from her shop for donating it for the stall, and the volunteers who donated books, helped sell the books and raffle tickets, or wrote signs.

The $12,000 raised will allow the Central West Cancer Service to buy equipment and expand the range of clinical trials available for patients.

Medical oncologist Peter Fox said most trials were run in Sydney, forcing patients in rural areas to travel long distances  to participate.

“With clinical trials starting in the central west, cancer patients will have opportunities to receive new emerging therapies many years earlier than they otherwise would,” he said.

The time taken for a drug to progress from a clinical trial to being commercially available is six to eight years.

Dr Fox said clinical trials would commence for lymphoma, breast, bowel and prostate cancers.

“Most new treatments are targeted therapies, which is targeting particular molecular abnormalities within an individual cancer to control or cure the cancer,” he said.

Dr Fox said the additional resources from the Cullane family would allow the health service to take part in international trials, including immunotherapy, which alerts the body’s immune system to the presence of cancer.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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