The Levin branch of the Cancer Society has been given a timely boost with the donation of a fleet of hand-crafted toy cars and trucks, all made by a local man as he recovered from cancer treatment.
The Levin man, who wanted to remain anonymous, kept himself busy hand-crafting the toy cars and trucks as he recovered from treatment before donating them to the society to help it raise funds.
Cancer Society support care co-ordinator Jennie Wylie said the gesture was well-received and like many people, the man was wanting to show his appreciation for the support he and his family were given by the Cancer Society through a challenging time.
"These are amazing. Look at them ... they are all individually handmade," she said.
The Cancer Society had supported the man through his six weeks of radiation treatment at Palmerston North Hospital by offering transport to and from his daily appointment.
"It was his way of saying thank you," she said.
The toy cars, trucks and boats would be each sold separately and profits would go towards the local branch of the society, who had fallen on tough times since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Wylie said donations to the Cancer Society at Winchester House in Levin had dropped by 30 per cent since the outbreak of Covid-19.
The society, which relied solely on donations, originally opened in 2008 to provide support to cancer sufferers and their families with help attending hospital appointments and accessing other services post-treatment.
They relied on annual fundraising initiatives like Daffodil Day and Relay for Life for operating funds, of which a large slice went towards the cost of transporting patients to and from Palmerston North Hospital each day for treatment.
Anyone undergoing treatment for cancer often had low immunity levels and the transport to and from hospital would be to the front door, driven by a society volunteer that would act as a support person too.
Wylie said people were aware of the Cancer Society as they or someone they knew had been affected by the disease in some way.
"The community is so supportive of us," she said.
They also provided support for people once treatment had finished to adapt to their "new normal".
Levin man Ian Nightingale had been involved as a driver and support person for 12 years and said it was no trouble to wait for patients as they received their treatment before driving them back home.
"You just wait for as long as it takes. You take a book, you have a cup of coffee ... it's just something you do," he said.
Nightingale, who was one of a number of volunteers at the society, said he remembered his first visit to the oncology department at the hospital and had driven patients and helped out at the society ever since.
They were always looking for more volunteers.
"I was staggered by just how many people are battling cancer. It's terrible. It's just so prevalent," he said.
The local branch covered the Horowhenua area from Te Horo to Himatangi and Tokomaru.
Winchester House was open between 10am and 2pm offering help and advice, Monday to Friday.