Western Care Lodge
The Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak (RCOD) has a strong association with Cancer Care Western NSW which built and runs Western Care Lodge. The lodge acts as a home-away-from-home for people as they undergo treatment for cancer in Orange.
For several years now, the Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak has been organizing a monthly meal for the guests at Western Care Lodge. The Lodge was financed and is run by Cancer Care Western NSW Inc. to offer accessible self-care accommodation for patients from outside Orange having cancer treatment at Orange Health Service.
The modern Lodge provides 22 ensuite rooms, outdoor courtyards, dining, kitchen, lounge, laundry and library facilities in a garden setting in the grounds of Orange Health Service at the Bloomfield campus and close to treatment facilities. Each room offers accommodation for a patient and a carer and the guests at the Lodge cater for themselves during their stay, which can last from several weeks to sometimes even months. Some patients get to go home over the weekend, but for people from very far away, that may not be possible and they sometimes stay at the Lodge for weeks on end without getting to see their families.
On the first Wednesday of every month, Daybreak Rotarians go to the Lodge and offer everyone there a free dinner. Daybreak picks up the cost of the food and it is prepared by our volunteers. In summer, the menu consists of a generous BBQ with lots of accompaniments and a large dessert buffet. In winter, we change to casseroles with again lots of side dishes and the not-to-ever-be-missed dessert buffet. Our efforts are always hugely appreciated. It must be a nice change for the carers not to have to worry about cooking for once, just to sit down and enjoy a meal with everyone else. Our volunteers get to share the meal with the guests at the Lodge. We cook according to the dietary rules issued by the Lodge and try to make our meals as yummy as we possibly can. And we built quite a massive reputation for our dessert buffets, usually offering four different dessert choices. And everything disappears quickly…. It’s quite tricky sometimes to estimate the quantities of food. All 22 rooms at the Lodge may be full, but if there happen to be only patients, no carers, we could have only 22 guests (that has never happened yet, though). And if all the rooms are occupied by 2 people, we can have 44 or more guests. So we usually aim at catering for 40 people and we have never run out of food yet.
This is a very worthwhile activity, supporting people who go through a very rough time and bringing them some good food, having a yarn and a laugh or two together. Daybreakers support it in a big way, and it is never hard to get volunteers to put up their hands to do some cooking. And our efforts are very much appreciated by our guests and the responsibles at the Lodge.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. RCOD organised an exhibition in September 2012 at Orange Function Centre, designed to increase community awareness of issues around male-only cancers, specifically testicular and prostate cancer. The exhibition had both creative and educational components involving community groups and individuals.
The creative component consisted of displays and the sale of visual arts items; the educational component was provided by relevant groups such as Orange Prostate Support Group and Cancer Care Western NSW. Net proceeds from Art Dako were donated to Western Care Lodge .
Creative works involved a theme related to men’s underwear or male anatomy. Exhibits were often humorous and conveyed a message to raise awareness and educate the community on male-only cancers.