With the new year just beginning, a cheeky 2013 calendar featuring dozens of ingenious “arty bra” designs is available in support of the vital work of Blue Mountains Cancer Help (BMCH).
The calendar features the best of last year’s entries into the Arty Bra fundraising auction which raised $10,000 for BMCH and includes photographs and information snippets about decorative bras made of everything from dark chocolate and coffee beans to feathers and felt.
Every purchase of the calendar will help BMCH provide subsidised therapies to local cancer patients.
Founder Robyn Yates said the community-based, not-for-profit service has only three paid staff but has helped almost 500 Blue Mountains clients access treatments by fully-trained and insured therapists since being established in May 2005.
This has been possible due to the great support by more than 60 volunteers and from income obtained only through fund-raising intitiatives like the Arty Bra Project, donations and revenue from sales at its Katoomba and Blaxland op-shops.
“Sometimes we are seen as an organisation that is under the umbrella of the Cancer Council, but that is a misconception,” Mrs Yates said.
“We rely on fundraising efforts and op-shop sales in order to be able to subsidise treatments for our clients, many of whom are not in a condition to be able to work.
“Last year we subsidised about 3,100 therapies such as counselling, massage, reflexology, art and music therapy, Reiki and meditation.
“After the initial diagnosis of cancer, the reaction is often fear, anxiety and a sense of isolation.
“Our organisation offers a range of evidence-based complementary therapies to Blue Mountains residents diagnosed with cancer, a 12-week Living with Cancer program and local support groups that bring people together and empower them.”
Many treatments are provided in BMCH’s office and treatment rooms located on the corner of Gang Gang and Lurline Streets in Katoomba, but treatments are also offered in clients’ homes if necessary and when appropriate.
Kerry Fryer — a keen volunteer and promotions/communications officer for BMCH since retiring as the chief executive officer of Blue Mountains Tourism Limited in late 2010 — told the Gazette “I doubt very much I could have got through it as well without that local support from BMCH”.
“The support groups were a tremendous help and doing things like yoga helped me with mobility.
“The supportive nature of this organisation is very important but it is the support from the wider community that enables BMCH to keep helping.”
Mrs Yates said people can continue to support BMCH in many ways by offering to volunteer in some capacity, by shopping at the Blaxland op-shop (148 Great Western Highway, phone 4739-9905) or the Katoomba op-shop (27 Whitton Street, phone 4782-6076), by making a tax-deductible donation or by ordering a 2013 Arty Bra calendar from BMCH op-shops or from the BMCH office (phone 4782-4866).