Central Coast LHD - CoastCanCare

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Central Coast Local Health District’s CoastCanCare Wellness Program has been a proud beneficiary of the annual Dry July campaign since 2013. Thanks to the generosity of those that commit to raising funds for us and Foundation grants, we continue to provide support, care and assistance to adults living with cancer on the Central Coast.

CoastCanCare provides valuable wellbeing and recovery tools – free of charge – to cancer patients, their families and carers on the Central Coast. Information, education and support helps patients and carers to develop skills for coping with a cancer diagnosis, treatments and treatment side effects, such as fatigue, pain and anxiety.

Art therapy, drumming, legal and financial workshops, self-care Saturdays and “Look Good Feel Better” are just some of the face to face programs designed to equip those attending with the tools to stick with their treatment plan with the best possible outcomes and to manage their health and wellbeing at the end of their care. Friendships and connections are established and continue long after CoastCanCare participation.

And while face to face interactions may not always be possible, the CoastCanCare team continue with essential services including regular telephone and email contact with all participants, maintaining connection and a friendly voice during difficult times.

We are grateful to Dry July for continuing to include CoastCanCare in the annual Appeal. With your support, in turn we will continue to support our community. As a “Dry Julyer” two things happen; not only do you have the opportunity to help local cancer patients – maybe a neighbour or relative – but 31 days without alcohol could also improve your own general health and wellbeing.

Nominate Central Coast Local Health District’s CoastCanCare to ensure money raised stays on the Coast to benefit the local community.

Latest Updates

Interview with Dr Andrew Kerr on ABC Central Coast

“I lost my life partner of over 50 years to cancer two years ago. Keeping in contact with the CoastCanCare walking group in the months immediately following my wife’s death allowed me to successfully transition from carer and husband to being on my own for the first time in 50 years.

“The inspiration drawn from other participants in the various CoastCanCare programs has enabled me to move from a world of potential darkness towards the light. The two art programs I attended, one pre and one post my wife’s death, were the two most personally beneficial programs I have ever attended. We met people with all types of cancers, at different stages, of different ages, and in different life circumstances. What came out of people’s art was astounding. The examples of personal courage were truly inspiring. Art really does help people release what may be suppressed; it helps to get it out. 

“The programs are an extremely important part of allowing patients and their carers to take charge of very challenging circumstances. It’s not going to cure anyone, but it definitely makes that period of treatment so much easier.” 

- Dr Andrew Kerr, participant in the CoastCanCare wellness program, talks live on ABC Central Coast on Monday, June 29. 

Central Coast LHD receives additional grant from Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that Central Coast Local Health District (LHD) has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will enable the continuation of the CoastCanCare Wellness Program.

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.

Dry July 2019 helps continue the CoastCanCare Wellness Program

Thanks to funds raised through Dry July 2019, the Dry July Foundation can provide ongoing Funding for CoastCanCare wellness program for the Central 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. 

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.  

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 

Donate to Central Coast LHD - CoastCanCare