Cancer and fun don’t always belong in the same sentence.
But WA’s inviting new Cancer Wellness Centre in Cottesloe was the site of much merriment at the weekend.
Kids lunged at stuffed toys while adults tucked into gourmet treats and enjoyed the Sunday sunshine at the Centre’s first Farmers Market And Healthy Living Fair.
It was also a chance to wander around and check out the centre’s fabulous facilities, based at historic Wanslea House, and nearby premises.
Visitors were also treated to free yoga and meditation sessions, juicing classes and other sessions.
The Cancer Wellness Centre, formerly opened by the Premier last week, is a holistic centre dedicated to providing a healing, supportive environment for those with cancer.
“About 11,900 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in WA,” explains Shelby Moore from Cancer Support WA, formed 30 years ago in recognition of the fact that lifestyle was a factor in the development of, or treatment of cancer.
The charity has been based at Wanslea, a former orphanage, since its inception.
“The place was getting very rundown in recent times,” says Shelby.
Now, after an extensive renovation funded by Lotterywest, other leading cancer support organizations, including Breast Cancer Care WA and Melanoma WA have moved to the same premises, (joining Cancer Support WA and collectively being known as the Cancer Wellness Centre).
And soon an organic café will be added to the Centre, making the premises even more appealing.
“When people first come to see us, they are often very stressed. We provide them with free counseling and a healing environment, where they know they’re among friends. We’re here to support them in their cancer journey and people end up thinking of us as family,” Shelby continues.
“We’re not judgemental about what choices people take once they’ve been diagnosed. We’re just here to help.”
Courses at the centre include diet, cooking and nutrition classes, meditation and yoga, with regular guest lecturers, retreats and other courses on the calendar.
Visitors to the The Wellness Centre can also opt to join support groups: A Woman’s Healing Circle and a Tuesday Support Group.
“We also have a 24 hour hotline manned by qualified counselors – the only one in Australia – so people can phone at any time,” Shelby tells The Starfish.
“Currently more women than men come to see us, but the number of men is growing. After all, 56 per cent of those diagnosed with cancer in WA are men.
“The people working here have all been touched by cancer in some way, either directly, or family member or close friend has had cancer.”
Membership of the Centre costing just $60 a year, provides access to free counseling, home and hospital visits and other services.