Resident raises cancer awareness

Mount Gambier resident Tayla O’Brien is hosting a Longest Table event in memory and in honour of ‘too many loved ones affected by cancer’.

She heard about The Longest Table after becoming familiar with The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group, through a shock cancer diagnosis of a family member.

“I was lucky and unlucky enough to see first-hand the important work The Hospital Research Foundation Group does for South Australians living with cancer,” Ms O’Brien said.

“Unlucky because my mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer and lucky because it gave me insight into an incredibly important organisation that I otherwise knew very little about.”

Ms O’Brien’s mother Dee Westerman had to travel to Adelaide to receive treatment and the pair stayed at an Under Our Roof home, which provides accommodation for country cancer patients through THRF Group.

“We were blessed to stay at one of the houses, which provided the comfort of home and normality to what is otherwise a period of upheaval to one’s life,” she said.

Ms O’Brien signed up to host a Longest Table event to not only raise funds for cancer research, but also to raise awareness for THRF Group.

She is hosting her event at her friend’s cafe, Nalou Kitchen in Mount Gambier on Saturday.

“I’m planning a three-course meal consisting of a mixed entree grazing board, a main course and dessert,” she said.

“Our theme is ‘Doing It For…’ and everyone can donate on behalf of a loved one if they want, or they can make a general donation for everyone.

“We will be raising funds via the ticket sales and we have also got various raffles with amazing prizes generously donated by local businesses. Prizes include cafe vouchers, handyman services, local artwork and quilts, car detailing, fashion and more.

“I’m blown away by the support of our local businesses so I will also be having a board showcasing the amazing contributions they have made to the night.

“Family and friends’ workplaces are also hosting casual days and morning teas and donating in the lead up to my event – I’m truly blown away by the support we have received so far and have already surpassed our initial goal of $2000!”

Ms O’Brien was hoping to raise $5000 to #ForkCancer, however her tally has already reached almost $13,000.

“It will also be a celebration as my mum recently became cancer free,” she said.

“One in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer. A future free from cancer means we do not have to worry about who is next.

“It means no more families will suffer the pain of losing a loved ones in need and no more families will need to put their lives on pause while they fight the biggest fight.”

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