What absolutely fantastic news for this region from the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society.
Tomorrow the society will launch a project to build a Cancer Wellness Centre right here in Hawke's Bay.
Well done to all involved for getting this off the ground.
The project is the first of its kind in New Zealand and it is expected other regions will follow.
I always shudder when I read the statistics on how many people in our region are diagnosed with cancer. More than 1000 people every year get the news that will forever change their lives, along with the lives of their family and friends.
Treatment and research has come a long, long way and that's mainly thanks to the very generous public who always give money to collections such as Breast Cancer Awareness and Relay for Life.
More and more people are surviving cancer and getting on with their lives. But as we all know, not everyone is so lucky.
To have a place to turn to for help and support while going through treatment and beyond is just priceless.
The centre will also be a place to go for treatment, which will mean less stress for patients, as well as family and friends who help out by getting people to treatments.
Cancer has touched the lives of us all in one way or another.
Hawke's Bay Centre manager for the Cancer Society, Trudy Kirk, said: "The wellness centre will be a positive step towards growing and extending cancer support services at the time of diagnosis and seeing it continue to be available to those living with cancer and beyond in the community."
It is predicted that the number of people diagnosed with cancer will increase by 50 per cent within 15 years.
That's easy maths to do. By 2033, 200 people in our region every year could be told they have cancer.
That's pretty scary, and while we should all be doing everything we can to keep ourselves fit and healthy, one never knows what's around the corner. And one never knows what the next thing is that the "experts" are going to tell us may cause cancer of this or that.
To have a wellness centre right on our doorstep is a huge bonus for our region. Sometimes just a chat with someone about what you are facing or what a family member is going through can help immensely.
So thanks to all the people that came up with this idea and followed it through. Let's give them all the support we possibly can.