Bengalla’s generosity a windfall for Transport to Treatment patients in Upper Hunter

TransCare coordinator Helen Schlegel and volunteer Don Frame, Bengalla CEO Cam Halfpenny, Cancer Council coordinator Glen Parsons and Bengalla community relations specialist Debbie Day
TransCare coordinator Helen Schlegel and volunteer Don Frame, Bengalla CEO Cam Halfpenny, Cancer Council coordinator Glen Parsons and Bengalla community relations specialist Debbie Day

TRANSPORT to treatment in NSW continues to be challenging for cancer patients, their carers and families when attending chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cancer surgery or even post scans or doctors’ appointments.

In the Upper Hunter last financial year, 732 patients were transported over 122,000 kilometres to attend these engagements free of charge. 

The Transport to Treatment program is funded through community partnerships and local fundraising supported by residents.

However, the Bengalla Mining Company is just one organisation that continues to support Cancer Council NSW and, in particular, the Transport To Treatment for cancer patients. 

“For a number of years Bengalla has financially contributed to offset the patient contribution and allow the patients to travel free of charge through its transport provider TransCare,” Cancer Council NSW community programs coordinator Glen Parsons said.

“Muswellbrook and Scone race clubs, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter shire councils and Muswellbrook Relay for Life are also supporters of the Transport to Treatment program. 

“This year, Bengalla mine went a giant step further and made funds available to purchase a vehicle specifically to transport cancer patients to their life saving treatment.

“It is essential that we provide not only the service but transport that is cost effective to the cancer patients and their families. 

“At the moment we provide free transport thanks to the generosity of the community fundraising for us and, in particular, on this occasion Bengalla Mining Company.”

Bengalla CEO Cam Halfpenny said the company had been involved in the Transport to Treatment program since its inception back in 2014.

“As a rural community, one of the major costs for cancer patients is transport to cancer treatment centres usually in Newcastle and further afield,” he explained.

“Anything that Bengalla can do to ease the burden for cancer patients, their families and carers within our community is a privilege.

“We are pleased to be in a position to be able to provide a vehicle for this purpose.

“Bengalla is committed to supporting our local community and through the Bengalla Community Development Fund, we are able to support these initiatives and, in particular, the NSW Cancer Council and those needing its assistance.”

TransCare coordinator transport services Helen Schlegel said Transport to Treatment was an important service within the Upper Hunter.

“Geographic isolation is one of the key issues TransCare aims to help our clients manage, and the Cancer Council and Bengalla supporting this second Transport to Treatment car is a great asset to the community,” she said.

“TransCare is looking forward to being able to assist more members of the community get where they need to go with this new addition.

“But, we are always looking for more generous people to help make that happen.

“We would love to hear from anyone who may have some time that they would like to put back into the community by becoming a volunteer driver.”

The Toyota Camry was handed to the Cancer Council and TransCare last Tuesday – and is expected to be in service immediately.