Can Assist, Carol Higginbottom

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We all know someone who’s been affected by cancer. The diagnosis and treatment of this terrible disease can not only be traumatic for the patient, but for the families and carers as well. The financial impact of cancer treatment can be substantial, so it’s reassuring to know there are some organisations in the community able to help! President of the Armidale branch of Can Assist, Carol Higginbottom, gives us the finer details of some upcoming fundraisers – including the annual Melbourne Cup Day Luncheon function…

Hi Carol. What’s your role with Armidale Can Assist, and how long have you been a member?

I am President of Armidale Can Assist and joined the committee about six months after it was formed in 1999.

For those not “in the know”, what’s Can Assist all about, and how does it help our local community members?

Can Assist is a charity which supports country cancer patients who are financially disadvantaged as a result of their diagnosis and treatment, often having to travel and pay for accommodation in city areas. There are 53 branches in NSW. 

We don’t receive any government support and rely on local fundraising events to raise our money. We have been fortunate to receive support from many sporting bodies, service clubs and Tour de Rocks, as well as the events we hold each year.

What are some examples you can share of the ways in which Can Assist supported our community over the past 12 months?

Over the last 15 months, we have helped 165 local families with over $200,000 of financial support. We could not do this without the assistance of our wonderful supportive sponsors.

Can Assist is well known for the amazing fundraisers it holds. Tell us a bit about the Melbourne Cup function that’s planned for November this year; when and where will it be held?

We are always looking for ways of raising these monies, and our Melbourne Cup Luncheon has been our major fundraiser for the last 14 years. 

We are holding the event at The Armidale Jockey Club on Tuesday 6th November, starting at 11:30am.

What will happen on the day – run us through the programme of events…

We start the day with champagne and finger food and then go on to have a two course smorgasbord luncheon in a beautiful marquee on the lawn, followed by afternoon tea and delicacies. There is also a bar available on the day. 

We also have a wonderful fashion parade by Concepts of Armidale and Fashion on the Field judging with prizes for both men and women and best hat. 

We have a raffle, lucky door prizes and an amazing auction.

You have had some amazing luck/success at previous race day fundraisers! Despite the terrible hail storm last year in November, the Can Assist marquee remained unscathed – which is unbelievable!

Yes, last year we were very blessed not to have our marquee damaged in the hail storm the previous night, and this has been the case over many years, when the previous day there have been storms, torrential rain and high winds.

Our day always comes out bright and sunny, and I pray for this each year, saying that God is not interested in the Melbourne Cup, but He cares about the welfare of the patients we are raising money for!

How much are you hoping to raise from this year’s Melbourne Cup function?

We always hope to raise about $20,000 on the day, but this is variable. 

As long as we make a profit and everyone has fun, we believe the event raises the profile of Can Assist and what we do in the community.

What other events/activities has Can Assist planned locally this year?

This year we had a successful “Great Gatsby“ evening in May, a bingo day in August and prior to the Melbourne Cup Luncheon we will be having a Movie Night Fundraiser on 18th October for the remake of A Star is Born. 

Previously we have had spring balls and girls’ night in events, but we try to vary activities each year.

How much do tickets to the Melbourne Cup fundraiser cost, and where can they be purchased?

Our Melbourne Cup Luncheon tickets will go on sale at the end of August from Concepts of Armidale at $80, for champagne, juice and finger food on arrival, the two course luncheon, wine on the tables and all the action on the day. 

Come along and enjoy!

More info …

Visit the following sites for more info about Can Assist:

Thanks Carol.

Interview: Jo Robinson.

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