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Cancer patients rally against possible St Andrew's closure

Ron Fraser addresses a crowd at the Village Green about the uncertain future of cancer care at St Andrew’s Hospital.
Ron Fraser addresses a crowd at the Village Green about the uncertain future of cancer care at St Andrew’s Hospital. Dave Noonan

ST ANDREW'S Hospital cancer patients have rallied in the city centre against government cut-backs that add further doubt to their already-uncertain futures.

Cancer survivor Ron Fraser roused a crowd of more than 60 protesters at the Village Green today following a Federal Government decision to cut rebates for cancer drug Docetaxel.

St Andrew's has confirmed its cancer unit will continue to run next year, but what happens after that is anyone's guess as costs become prohibitive.

"We are the silent majority, but we shouldn't stay silent any longer," Mr Fraser said, calling the crowd to tirelessly lobby the government to rethink its stance.

Cancer survivors (from left) Wendy Clague, Julie Mills and Sophie Rust tell their stories after this afternoon&squot;s rally.
Cancer survivors (from left) Wendy Clague, Julie Mills and Sophie Rust tell their stories after this afternoon&squot;s rally. Dave Noonan

Toowoomba identity Ralph Cockle took centre stage and revealed his ongoing battle with cancer had taken a turn for the worse.

 

He was told he would need to undergo a new course of chemotherapy in the new year on the same day as the government's announcement.

He cut his speech short, mindful that the crowd might not want to see the town crier actually cry.

"I rang the bell at the opening of the cancer centre... little did I know that six years later I would be back there as a patient," he said.

Crowd member Wendy Clague's story echoed that of many onlookers.

She was re-diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this month after a fight that has lasted more than two years.

"I just need to know there's something there for me," she said.

"You don't take away something that is working.... you don't sabotage the health system just to make the budget look good."

Topics:  cancer, federal funding, health, ralph cockle, st andrew's hospital, toowoomba



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