There was a warm and sociable atmosphere among those gathered at Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club to celebrate Great Lakes Palliative Care Support's 30th year as an organisation.
Taking place on Wednesday, July 10, the luncheon was attended by members both past and present, as well as a host of supporters and associates.
President Deidre Stokes said it was important to acknowledge the milestone they'd achieved, especially for the members who'd been there since the beginning.
"It seemed a good thing to acknowledge what we've been able to achieve," she said.
"We went from nothing 30 years ago."
Founding member Elizabeth Fisher spoke about the challenges of those early times, and how the generosity of the Great Lakes community had helped the organisation grow to where it was today.
Member Rosslyn Dreise told of her own experiences receiving chemotherapy at the oncology unit in Forster Private Hospital, and how important it was for Great Lakes' residents to be able to receive this treatment locally.
Palliative care nurse Patricia Lowe acknowledged the huge difference the organisation made in the lives of the terminally ill.
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Mrs Stokes said while it was important to celebrate the contribution the organisation had made to the community, it was also important to acknowledge the support the community had given them.
"It's an amazing community," she said.
"We're really well-supported by them."
She drew attention to the wide range of support they received, from the funds donated from large events like the Matt Dixon Police Charity Golf Day to the individual supporters who contributed money to them every month.
She believed it was because of this support they were able to make the difference they did.
"We're reaching further afield now, down to Tea Gardens and to where people need help," she said.
"We pay for a lot. We provide for people doing it tough."
Mrs Stokes said it was this aspect of being involved in the organisation that was so rewarding for their 50-odd members.
"Just the fact you know you're making a difference in people's lives at a really difficult time."
She believed the amount of residents who were able to die at home in the Great Lakes reflected positively on the organisation.
"Something like 40 per cent of people in the area die at home compared to the State average of 15 per cent," she said.
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