It’s been three years since Jane McGrath’s passing and her dream is taking flight, with the 67th McGrath Breast Care Nurse position literally taking to the skies with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to support Australian families experiencing breast cancer in areas as far reaching as Far West New South Wales South West Queensland and North Eastern South Australia. This is the first position of its kind in Australia.

Thanks to a unique friendship between the McGrath Foundation and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the amazing fundraising efforts of Elders staff nationally, the full-time McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse will be based at the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Broken Hill and will travel across the country by plane to support Australian families in rural and remote areas experiencing breast cancer.

The McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse is the 67th position to be funded by the McGrath Foundation, with 62 McGrath Breast Care Nurses currently working in communities right across Australia and an additional five locations identified for recruitment during 2011.

The McGrath Foundation’s Tracy Bevan was Jane’s best friend and continues to work at the Foundation.

“Jane dreamt that every Australian family experiencing breast cancer would have access to a breast care nurse no matter where they lived or their financial situation. The placement of the McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse brings us one step closer to the realisation of this dream as we reach out to some of the most remote locations in our country.

“Today is obviously a hard day for us all, but it’s also a really proud one. I know that my friend Jane would be so happy to see how far we’ve come, with 62 McGrath Breast Care Nurses currently

working and another five positions funded and ready to be placed, growing our network to 67. There are literally now McGrath Breast Care Nurses in every state and territory throughout Australia and to see them take flight – well, it’s like Jane’s angels have grown wings!

“So far, our McGrath Breast Care Nurses have helped support over 8,500 Australian families through a breast cancer experience and we look forward to seeing this number continue to grow.”

Supporting Australians in some of the most remote areas with the best care for more than 80 years, the Royal Flying Doctor Service is best known for its emergency rescue mission, performing more than 38,000 aerial evacuations last year. Increasingly though, the Royal Flying Doctor Service is at the frontline of delivering essential health care where it is needed most, such as taking doctors, nurses and specialists out to remote communities on ‘fly around clinics’.

Chief Medical Officer for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, South Eastern Section, Dr Anne Wakatama said, “We are delighted to welcome the McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse into the Flying Doctor ‘family’. The position will be an invaluable and much-needed addition to our primary health care team, providing support and empowering families through accurate and timely information and referral services during what is naturally a very stressful time.”

Long-term Corporate Friend of the McGrath Foundation, Elders has been working with its branches across the country to fundraise in excess of $330,000 over the past three years for the McGrath Foundation.

Elders CEO, Malcolm Jackman, said it was pleasing to see that the result of staff fundraising efforts were helping to fund the full-time McGrath Elders Breast Care Nurse to support rural and remote parts of Australia.

“Elders and its staff are a key part of regional and rural communities, and we’ve combined great fun with supporting a good cause and raised funds using some creative ways – including a “swear jar” in some local branches, sausage sizzles, and auctions of cricket memorabilia at client days,” Mr Jackman said.

“Whether it’s been big donations or small, the generosity of Elders staff and clients have each made a difference and helped turn this dream into reality,” he said.

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