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Fundraising For

Funds raised this Dry July will ensure their vital 13 11 20 Information and Support service continues to be available

About Us

13 11 20 is a free and confidential phone line run by Cancer Council’s experienced health professionals, offering support and information about cancer. It’s available to anyone who is affected by or concerned about cancer and works to connect Australians with relevant cancer support, information, and resources.

Our 13 11 20 Information and Support service received over 37,000 calls from Australian’s affected by cancer in need of support last year.

Please help us in continuing to provide this much-needed service for the Australian community by fundraising
for us this Dry July.

Latest Updates

How Danica found support through the phone after being wrongly diagnosed just before Christmas

Mother of two, Danica Bunch, was told that she may only have two years to live only a couple of days before Christmas in 2022, “When the nurse came to see me and broke down in tears, I asked her why she was crying, and she said she was overwhelmed with feeling for me as the diagnosis was so bad,” she says. Danica was wrongly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

It wasn’t until early the following year that Danica was told that the nurse had mixed up her results with another patient’s and, while she still had breast cancer, her diagnosis was treatable.

Danica said that the timing of being (unknowingly) misdiagnosed was particularly challenging, “Any news at Christmas time is so hard, but over Christmas you also have services shutting down for the break.”

“That’s when I first called 13 11 20 and they were amazing!”

Over this time, Danica was waiting for a call from her hospital's social worker while at her son's tennis camp. The call never came as the team had forgotten to book her in. In her search for support in this tough time, Danica turned to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support line.

“That’s when I first called 13 11 20 and they were amazing! They really helped me with the practicalities and helped me reframe what was happening to get through Christmas. They just got it.”

Danica says she really appreciated that this phone number was the gateway to other services that Cancer Council offers for people affected by cancer and saysit was real support on every level, practically, emotionally and accessible.

Someone to talk to without judgement

Over Christmas and New Years, Danica called 13 11 20 three times. Her family were also hurting, and she didn’t want to burden them, so Danica found it helpful to be able to share her thoughts with someone without judgement.

The health professionals on the other side of the line also helped Danica work out the best way to talk about her cancer with her family. “I felt very heard and listened to,” she says

”The more we can support people to live in the now and with hope and not just the weight of cancer the better. Treatments are going so well and advancing, and people can live with cancer.”

How Danica learnt to understand her body

Danica says that she felt the weight of cliches and stigma around it, having breast cancer as a relatively young woman aged 42.

When she received a breast care pack from her hospital, Danica found that it didn’t suit her needs. By comparison, she says that “I found that Cancer Council was so modern in their approach and views, I found it really inclusive of everyone and all ages,” she says.

Danica says that every person's cancer is different, once she knew her cancer was treatable, she realised you need an understanding of how your body is going to take on everything. They were some of the messages she received; trust your body, learn your body and how it’s feeling, and be kind to yourself.

Dry July 2023 funds are supporting Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 private and confidential Information and Support line

We’re excited to announce that Dry July funds are supporting the continuation of Cancer Council's 13 11 20 private and confidential Information and Support line.

Experienced healthcare professionals run the vital 13 11 20 Information and Support line and it is available to anyone who is affected by or concerned about cancer. The Information and Support line works to connect Australians with relevant cancer support, information, and resources.

Heather's Story

A month after her 50th birthday in 2010, Heather received her bowel cancer screening kit in the mail. After a year, Heather decided to take the test and soon received the test results which were positive. After a colonoscopy and a CT scan, the diagnosis was clear: stage three bowel cancer.

Everything moved fast from there, a week after results came back in the mail, Heather was in hospital for surgery. "I really had no time to think and process” she says. “I’m a very 'positive person and I just wanted to get on with it. And felt really lucky that I had caught it so early.” After surgery, Heather went through five months of chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial. After some issues with her pacemaker, she stopped the trial and received oral chemotherapy for one month.

During treatment, Heather contacted Cancer Council's 13 11 20 Information and Support service for the first time, for some advice on her relationships with others and anxiety, “I realised that I'd just powered through my cancer experience without thinking about it too much, I hadn't had time to digest what had actually happened to me, so talking about that really helped.”

Heather find it important to remind people that 13 11 20 is for carers as well as patients, “Of course, we are always focused on the patient, but we can’t forget about the carers. I would try and shelter people around me from it and wouldn’t realise the effect it had.”

Today, Heather is a volunteer with Cancer Council's Cancer Connect program, a peer support program that matches survivors with patients with a similar diagnosis, "Having had cancer has changed how I view little things – I don't sweat the small stuff anymore, but the fact that the cancer could return is always in the back of my mind.” Cancer Connect can be contacted via 13 11 20.

“It is important people know that 13 11 20 isn’t the only service offered by Cancer Council, it can lead to all of their other services like Transport to Treatment, Financial Assistance, Counselling and more.  

Dry July funds help Cancer Council continue to run their 13 11 20 line in your local community!

As a supporter of Cancer Council, we are delighted to announce that with your help they raised an astounding $631,884, and have also received additional funding from our grants round!

These funds have helped Cancer Council continue to run their 13 11 20 Information and Support service in your local community. 13 11 20 is a private and confidential Information and Support Line run by experienced healthcare professionals, available to anyone who is affected by or concerned about cancer. This service works to connect Australians with relevant cancer support, information, and resources, so that no Australian has to face cancer alone.

How amazing is that!

Sue's Story

Eight years ago, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time during a routine check-up, “I hadn’t even thought it could all go wrong again”. Sue was told she would need a double mastectomy which then led to eight correctional surgeries. “Cancer attracts other problems”, while Sue was going through her surgeries her father died and her daughter was going through divorce.

“Physically I was really well but mentally I was all over the place. I was really resentful and very angry but determined not to show that to people.” Sue was fit, healthy and doing everything you should to maintain a healthy lifestyle, “I remember seeing people at the supermarket smoking outside or eating a packet of chips and thinking ‘why me?’.”

The private hospitals Sue was in and out of didn’t have the support resources that Sue needed, it wasn’t until her friend handed her a card with Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support number on it, that she was able to talk to someone about her experiences.

“One day I was minding my grandchild who would have been about three at the time, I realised I need to get over this because I am not enjoying my life.”

Sue called 13 11 20 where she was put on right away to one of Cancer Council’s healthcare professionals. “He asked me how I felt and what was wrong. He just listened to me and he didn’t say anything negative to me, he said, ‘it’s not your fault you know?’ and he agreed with me that it wasn’t fair.” The man on the other side of the phone was able to remind Sue that she may not have done as well physically if she had not been living a healthy lifestyle.

Not only did 13 11 20 help Sue with her mental well-being, but they also alerted her to familiar testing and research. “We sent my tumours for testing and only found out recently that there were two genes that meant you had a 22% higher chance of developing breast cancer more than once.” Sue’s children were all over 40 at the time and therefore at risk of developing breast cancer.

“It wasn’t until years later that I thought ‘he really did know’. If he hadn’t said the importance of looking into familiar testing, we wouldn’t have known to check and been open to more research into the cancer. I wouldn’t listen to family or friends, but I could really listen to him.”

Before the pandemic, Sue was working in Blacktown Hospital in the Information Service where she still recommends for patients to call 13 11 20 if they need support.

“It’s amazing how a short conversation with someone really changed my attitude, I got back to being my old self quickly. Without the support of 13 11 20 I don’t know where I would be.”

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