Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation reaches $1m target eight months early

2020 VISION: Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation chairman Don Johns and health group chief executive Chris Scott celebrate two important announcements at Wimmera Base Hospital on Tuesday night. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

2020 VISION: Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation chairman Don Johns and health group chief executive Chris Scott celebrate two important announcements at Wimmera Base Hospital on Tuesday night. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

WIMMERA Health Care Group Foundation will focus on establishing a state-of-the-art oncology service in Horsham after reaching its $1-million target ahead of deadline.

Foundation chairman Don Johns made both announcements on Tuesday night at what he labelled the foundation's most important function in 25 years.

"Four years ago the trustees announced we were going to reach $1 million by the end of 2014," he said.

"Quite remarkably we've reached the total now - eight months early."

Mr Johns said the $1 million would never be spent, with the interest used to buy equipment for the group's Horsham and Dimboola campuses.

He said the money would not have been raised without the generosity of the Foundation 500 members, the Friends of the Foundation and the general public.

"We thank them very sincerely. They've showed they've committed to the health care organisation," he said.

Mr Johns said foundation trustees and Wimmera Health Care Group representatives would work together on their 2020 Vision.

The vision's primary aim is the delivery of high quality cancer services for the Wimmera and southern Mallee.

He said the foundation was excited about helping to fund the redevelopment of Wimmera Base Hospital's oncology facilities.

"People travel all over the place for cancer services," he said.

"We believe we're a big city and we should have a first-class oncology unit," he said.

"We'd like to encourage people to 'give where they live'. We want to see people's money stay in Horsham, directly helping people in the Wimmera."

"We believe we're a big city and we should have a first-class oncology unit.'' - Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation chairman Don Johns

Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott said he was thrilled with the foundation trustees' vision and enthusiasm.

"The redevelopment of oncology facilities matches well with the sub-regional and regional endeavours to improve five-year cancer survival rates for the Grampians region," he said.

"The Grampians region - which includes the Wimmera - has a very poor survival rate for cancer compared with other parts of the state.

"The cause of this outcome is relatively unknown and Wimmera Health Care Group is keen to undertake work in this area in collaboration with Grampians Integrated Cancer Services to determine why."

Mr Scott said demand for cancer services in the Wimmera had grown since the establishment of Wimmera Base Hospital's oncology unit.

"It is important to the overall care and comfort of patients and families that our facilities keep pace with that demand," he said.

"The Rotary House development is also part of that cancer journey and it provides wonderful support to the families of cancer sufferers as they receive treatment at Wimmera Base Hospital.

"I know the staff and clinicians are excited about the foundation's initiative and look forward to the community getting behind the project."

Mr Scott said work would begin as soon as possible and a master plan would be developed to determine the best way forward.

A new fundraising initiative - Foundation500Plus was also launched on Tuesday night.

Mr Johns said it would continue the financial support provided by Foundation500 members, through both existing and new donors.

He said people could visit www.whcgfoundation.org.au or call administrator Anne Bothe on 5381 9098 for more information.

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