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Reception for The Nelune Foundation’s 21 years of fundraising, Admiralty House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Cammeraygal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Linda and I are delighted to welcome you to Admiralty House.

We are gathered here tonight to celebrate.

2021 marks the 21st anniversary of the work of The Nelune Foundation.

For 21 years the Foundation and its supporters have sought to make a difference to the lives of those who have been diagnosed with cancer and provide equality of care for all cancer patients irrespective of their financial or social status.

To date it has raised in excess of $35 million.

Every cent raised has been committed to the provision of world-class infrastructure, facilities and services to cancer patients in public hospitals.

Every cent raised has made a difference in the lives of people when they most needed it.

When they have been struck by the scourge that is cancer.

When they are vulnerable and, although they might not want to ask for it, need help.

It is a wonderful achievement and you should be very proud.

When I was sworn-in as Governor-General I spoke about the richness of spirit in our society.

Organisations such as The Nelune Foundation, and its staff, volunteers and supporters epitomise what I meant. People who work hard to make a difference, to look out for others in our community and to help people in their time of need.

These are the characteristics that make us a ‘rich’ country.

I would like to acknowledge Ms Nelune Rajapakse AM and Ms Anna Guillan AM, co-founders of The Nelune Foundation.

Nelune is a cancer survivor who knows and understands the impacts of being diagnosed with cancer and living with cancer. She and Anna conceived of The Nelune Foundation 21 years ago.

I suspect that they may not have known 21 years ago just what the Foundation would become or just how successful they would be at helping patients by providing tangible and practical support. 

Anna and Nelune – thank you for your work, your vision and your commitment. You are inspirational.

I’d also like to acknowledge all of the Foundation’s supporters.

In doing so it is worth highlighting the profound impact that has resulted from your personal commitment and contributions.

  • Funding to establish the first clinical psychology services for oncology patients at St Vincent’s Public Hospital, Sydney – services subsequently available at other NSW hospitals.
  • Beginning complimentary transportation services to ensure that cancer patients are not burdened by the stress of travelling to and from their treatments.
  • Setting up the NELUNE Centre within the Kinghorn Cancer Centre Darlinghurst. This is a dedicated purpose-built facility that provides an innovative model of personalised treatments for patients.
  • Helping establish the Cancer Survivorship Centre within the Prince of Wales Hospital Campus. The first of its type, the Survivorship Centre optimises the health and wellbeing of people living with and beyond cancer.

All of these have made and will continue to make a profound difference in the lives of patients, their loved ones and carers.

Thank you to all of you for your outstanding contribution.

The work of course is not done and perhaps never will be.

Linda and I serve as Patrons of many charities working to cure cancer such as the Children’s Medical Research Institute, Cure Cancer, Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Children’s Cancer Institute, Kids Cancer Project.

They’re wonderful organisations and I am proud to be involved in them and support their work.

But I long for the day when they can all say ‘we’re done – cancer is no more and mission accomplished.’

It may be ambitious, a dream even.

Until it is a reality we need to support people who have been diagnosed with cancer, irrespective of their financial or social status.

We need The Nelune Foundation and the generosity and commitment of people like you.

You have made a huge difference and, on behalf of all Australians, I thank you for what you have achieved in 21 years.

And I ask you to keep working, keep giving and keep helping those who need it most.



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