4 September 2023

Country Hope celebrates two decades of supporting regional families and their sick children

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Everyone involved with Country Hope’s ‘Time Out For Life’ Children’s Holiday Camp, including campers, volunteers, buddies, coordinators and medical staff. Photo: Karen Allamby Photography.

Country Hope, the local family-centred support organisation for children diagnosed with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

For the past two decades, the organisation has provided emotional and financial support to regional families with ill children.

The celebration was attended by 200 people at the Range Function Centre with charity auctions, cake cutting, a magic show and live music entertainment.

Country Hope fundraising and events coordinator Simon Barton said the 20th-anniversary celebration was a resounding success.

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“Everyone had a good time and was commenting on what a great time they had and how good it was to catch up with people,” Simon said.

“We started organising at the end of last year and it was great to bring everyone together and recognise just how far Country Hope has come in the last 20 years.

“It was a celebration event, not a fundraiser, and we kept the ticket prices as low as possible to ensure that many people could come.”

Simon said supporting the regional families and their ill children is vital.

“Nobody does what we do. Plenty of organisations do bits and pieces, but we’re all-encompassing in terms of what we do in supporting country families,” he said.

“We are specifically focused on the needs, pressures and difficulties of country families when they have a child diagnosed with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

“We’re growing and have expanded into the Dubbo region.”

He said the Country Hope needs to continue its work because many families rely on them for support.

Simon extended his gratitude to Country Hope’s major sponsor, Regional Australia Bank, who will open their new branch in Wagga Wagga by the end of the year.

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Country Hope’s youngest and newest board member, Jenny Skidmore, said the celebration shows how important it is for the community to get together and support a local charity.

“It [cancer] can affect everybody … most people will know someone who is affected,” Jenny said.

“We’re a tight-knit community, and we need to have events like this to raise awareness in the younger community about what we do.”

Jenny said Country Hope is always looking for new volunteers and has encouraged people to join the charity group.

“The volunteers who have been with us for a long time are now getting older and are not able to volunteer to the capacity they once were able to,” she said.

“We’re interested in securing as many volunteers from different demographics. All ages are welcome.”

Head to the Country Hope website to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

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