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Central Coast LHD - CoastCanCare

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Since the first year as a Dry July beneficiary in 2013, Central Coast Local Health District’s CoastCanCare Wellness Program has provided support, care and assistance to hundreds of adult cancer patients on the Central Coast. Funds raised by “Dry Julyers” and their supporters helps CoastCanCare continue to provide valuable wellbeing and recovery tools – free of charge – to cancer patients on the coast.

CoastCanCare provides information, education and support programs for patients and carers to develop skills for coping with a cancer diagnosis, treatments and treatment side effects, such as fatigue, pain and anxiety. Many of the CoastCanCare programs focus on reducing anxiety and stress and is a great space for patients and carers to connect with and support each other. Those attending the Program are then better equipped to stick with their treatment plan with the best possible outcomes... and to manage their health and well-being at the end of their care.

We are grateful to Dry July for continuing to include our Wellness Program in the annual Appeal so we can continue to provide much needed support to our patients and their families through CoastCanCare.

As a “Dry Julyer” two things will happen; not only do you have the opportunity to help local cancer patients – maybe a neighbour or relative - but the flow on effect from 31 days without alcohol could well improve your own general health and wellbeing. Nominate Central Coast Local Health District – CoastCanCare to ensure money raised stays on the Coast to benefit the local community.

Latest Updates

Masks unveiled during Dry July

This year, to raise awareness of the Dry July campaign and the CoastCanCare wellness program, CoastCanCare is running therapeutic art workshops where radiation oncology patients and their carers, friends and family will have the opportunity to create artworks out of their radiation oncology masks. This will culminate in a unique exhibition titled “Masks Unveiled” to be displayed in Gosford Hospital’s main foyer from 1 July through to September.  

Radiation oncology masks are made of mesh and moulded to the patient’s face help to accurately target treatment areas and protect patients during radiotherapy for head and neck cancer.  

CoastCanCare Program Coordinator Tia Covi said the masks symbolise something different for each patient.  

“The art workshops and exhibition will aim to be a therapeutic and healing exercise, providing an outlet to express patients’ personal experiences,” she said.  

Ms Covi said art therapy was just one of the free wellness activities offered by CoastCanCare.  

“Other sessions include tai chi, music therapy and exercise groups which all have a strong focus on the importance of self-care, relaxation, mindfulness, support and connectedness during a difficult time in people’s lives,” she said.  

“There are also sessions that offer practical advice such as the legal and financial services workshop which equips and empowers people with important information they need to know.”  

Ms Covi said the popular CoastCanCare program would not be able to keep having such a positive impact without the support of the local community through the annual Dry July appeal.  

“It is wonderful to see the benefits of CoastCanCare for locals living with cancer and we want to continue offering this valuable wellness and recovery program in the future,” she said.  

“We are therefore extremely grateful for the Central Coast community’s involvement and generosity in taking on the Dry July challenge and getting behind this great cause.  


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Making it through a month of no alcohol for a good cause

Miss Baldwin, aged 31 of Narara, said she was “in complete shock” when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2017. 

“I was just 29 at the time and probably the healthiest and fittest I have ever been – I was running half marathons and had just completed my first triathlon,” she said.  

“I was overseas in England at the time when I felt a lump and thought something is wrong.”  

Within a couple of months Miss Baldwin began what she described as a grueling 12 months of treatment with chemotherapy and a double mastectomy to remove the cancer. 

“I was losing my hair, I looked really sick and I was also struggling to deal with the emotional strain which is much harder than the physical side effects,” she said.  

It was at this point that her lymphedema physiotherapist told Miss Baldwin about the CoastCanCare wellness program.   

“I have a phenomenal family so I didn’t think I needed any outside help but the CoastCanCare program provided me with more support than I could have imagined,” she said.  

“I started out doing an art therapy class which I loved and then began tai chi.  

“They have also taught me how to tie a head scarf, gave me a wig to wear, showed me how to draw on my eyebrows, helped pay for bills and lots of other valuable support. 

But the biggest benefit for Miss Baldwin has been the connections she’s been made with other survivors. 

“The workshops have countless healing and wellness benefits but what is by far the most valuable thing for me is being in a room with other people who know what you are going through,” she said. 

“They all know what it’s like to have cancer and lose your hair and not feel yourself. 

“It’s a safe place to cry, talk and vent and work on my wellness.”   

After 12 months of treatment Miss Baldwin is now in remission and discovering what she calls her “new norm”.  

“It’s definitely an adjustment but CoastCanCare helps you through the process and I am back at work which is really nice to be a nurse again.”  

Miss Baldwin is taking on the Dry July challenge and encourages others to get behind the cause.  

“Raising funds for this program is something that is really close to my heart and I hope others see the value it has for people affected by cancer,” she said.   

“I’d also like to create more awareness about the CoastCanCare wellness program for young people on the Coast living with cancer who may feel isolated or alone.”  

If you would like to donate to CoastCanCare, please visit https://www.dryjuly.com/coastcancare 


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Wellness Program continues on the Central Coast thanks to Dry July Foundation funding

Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the Dry July Foundation the continuation of the CoastCanCare wellness program is guaranteed to continue in 2019.

Workshop sessions include mindfulness; practical exercise education and goal setting; music and art therapy; tai chi; meditation and vision board planning have taken place in 14 different suburbs and utilised 19 different venues across the Central Coast. 

Positive feedback from CoastCanCare participants include:

“This group has been my lifesaver keeping me focussed on the future not on my past journey”

“I loved listening to the different speakers. All people were friendly - helped me a lot with my rollercoaster day and gave me purpose”

“I love this program and have found it has made such a difference to my life”

“The wellness program gives you a platform — you can’t just sit at home, life’s to be lived.“

“It has restarted my life”

“This has given me back an important part of me”

“Enjoyed the friendship. Enjoyed the energy. Staff lovely.” and

“Motivated to keep on living!”.


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GET READY TO GO “DRY FOR JULY” IN SUPPORT OF CENTRAL COAST CANCER PATIENTS

The countdown is on for Dry July with the Central Coast community joining together for an alcohol-free month in support of local cancer patients.

The Central Coast Local Health District’s (CCLHD) CoastCanCare Wellness Program has been a beneficiary of the Dry July initiative for the past five years, helping make a real difference to the lives of adults diagnosed with cancer across the region, as well as carers and families.

Complementary therapies such as music, exercise and tai chi classes are offered as part of the program and focus on stress and pain management during a difficult time in people’s lives.

Claire Job, 34, was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer almost two years ago and has found the CoastCanCare Wellness Program extremely helpful and rewarding.

Ms Job has enjoyed exercise and tai chi classes for the past 18 months and is looking forward to starting music and art therapy sessions in the coming weeks. 

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is often an overwhelming, isolating, challenging and life-changing time,” Ms Job said.

“The CoastCanCare Wellness Program has provided my family, friends and I a place of peace, comfort, support, encouragement, respite and a sense of normality during an otherwise unfamiliar time.

“I was looking for anything to help overcome my feelings of fear, confusion and isolation. I was suddenly facing my own mortality, realising how fragile life can be and how quickly it can all change.

“I have learnt so much about myself and my diagnosis whilst gaining new and positive strategies around sleep, relaxation, nutrition, exercise and pain management. 

“Words cannot describe the amazing and rewarding benefits of the program – not only for the patient, but also for family, friends and carers.”

CoastCanCare Wellness Program coordinator Tia Covi encouraged Central Coast residents to get behind the Dry July initiative which continues to support many people affected by cancer.

"Every day I see first-hand the benefits the CoastCanCare Wellness Program is having on Central Coast adults diagnosed with cancer like Claire,” Ms Covi said.

“Ultimately our aim is to assist people to optimise their quality of life; to set and achieve their goals and priorities; to live their best life regardless of a cancer diagnosis.  

We do this by engaging therapists to work with people in group settings. This enables participants to connect with, support and learn from each other, as well as the therapist.

“Participants who have attended our programs have reported feeling less stressed and anxious and more connected, supported and skilled to promote their own health and wellbeing.” 

This year, Dry July participants and their supporters can once again nominate the District’s CoastCanCare Wellness Program as their beneficiary, ensuring their fundraising dollar remains on the Coast to benefit local cancer patients.

Sign-ups for 2017 are now open.

Visit www.dryjuly.com to register to participate or to make a donation to a team or team member and be sure to nominate the ‘Central Coast Local Health District’s CoastCanCare Wellness Program’ as the beneficiary to ensure donations stay on the Coast.


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Wellness program now in fifth year

Now in its fifth year, 2017, Central Coast Local Health District’s CoastCanCare Wellness Program continues to go from strength to strength with the support of the Dry July Foundation and the generosity of the public that nominate CoastCanCare as their beneficiary.

The Program provides information and practical tools and support to promote wellness for adult cancer patients in our local community. The Program also allows for a patient’s carer or family member to attend sessions and this has proved to be invaluable for the ongoing treatment and care of the patient.

CoastCanCare sessions provide advice on nutrition, psychosocial and physical care, distraction therapies such as meditation and mindfulness and occupational activities such as music and art therapies and exercise. The feedback from attendees has always been very positive and we are grateful for the opportunity to once again be part of the Dry July “family” in 2017.

All donations received from the Dry July Foundation – as with all monetary support for the District – goes directly to patient care to enable us to continue to provide the best care and treatment possible for our patients.


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