Marlborough Express - Health and wellbeing of our community

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I was very pleased to be invited to cut the ribbon at the opening of Marlborough’s long-awaited MRI machine last week.

Based at Churchill Specialist Centre at Wairau Hospital, the $2.5 million machine became operational in June and since then has already started reducing wait times for scans.

This is fantastic news for the health and wellbeing of our community. No longer will patients have to travel to Nelson for MRI scans, which for many people, particularly the most vulnerable members of our community, came at great inconvenience and cost.

Jointly funded by Pacific Radiology and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB), the MRI machine is expected to scan 800 patients per year, in both the public and private systems. The NMDHB hopes to scan 75 per cent of patients within six weeks of receiving a referral notice.

On the topic of health, this week marks the 25th anniversary of Daffodil Day, New Zealand’s major annual fundraiser for the Cancer Society.

As always, volunteers will be out on the streets throughout the Kaikoura electorate, accepting donations for this important cause.

Unfortunately, most people know someone affected by cancer: One in three New Zealanders are diagnosed with it.

Donations from Daffodil Day go towards scientific research into the causes and treatment of all types of cancer, education to reduce cancer risk and awareness campaigns. It also helps support cancer sufferers and their families.

I will be joining the Daffodil Day street appeal in Blenheim this Friday and look forward to meeting some of the hardworking volunteers who donate their time to this important cause.

Last week I already met some of those people when I attended the Marlborough Cancer Society morning tea at the Blenheim Club to celebrate Daffodil Day’s anniversary, featuring Kevin Judd’s latest collection of Colours of Marlborough.

This event, and others surrounding Daffodil Day, demonstrated how wonderfully Marlborough’s community rallies together for a good cause.

So much work goes in behind the scenes by volunteers, from the organisation of volunteer rosters right down to picking and bunching the daffodils, which themselves are donated.

One exciting community project which was launched earlier this year was the Marlborough Daffodils Project 2016, which has seen local school children make ceramic daffodils destined for a public art installation during next year’s Daffodil Day.

The children can choose to dedicate their individually-made flowers to someone, demonstrating how far-reaching cancer is in our community.

With the aim of making 5000 daffodils, this project is another great example of community collaboration. The Cancer Society Marlborough, Marlborough Community Potters and local schools are all on board, and a number of community groups have made donations.

I look forward to seeing the result of this impressive project this time next year.