Cancer Society buoyed by charity cruise

Ngaire Hayes (left) , of Queenstown, Marie Wales, from Cancer Society Otago, and Simon Hayes, of...
Ngaire Hayes (left) , of Queenstown, Marie Wales, from Cancer Society Otago, and Simon Hayes, of Queenstown, on the Milford Mariner Cancer Society Otago fundraiser. Photo: Louise Scott.
A local charity has had its coffers bolstered thanks to Cruise-for-a-Cause.

About $13,500 from the Cancer Society fundraiser, hosted by tourist operator Real Journeys on Milford Sound, will fund local services for cancer patients and their families.

Demand for those wanting assistance in the Otago-Southland region is rising; it is  up  60%  in the last two years. Queenstown woman Ngaire Hayes, who survived breast cancer 10 years ago, said the charity provided vital support for those with the disease, as well as friends and family.

"It is all about giving back and this is a great experience which is also a lot of fun."

Cancer Society Otago and Southland manager of supportive care services Marie Wales said the charity could not function without the support of the local community. But despite its success, many local  people were unaware of the services it  provided, she  said.

Ms Wales, who is based in Queenstown, said it ranged from providing transport to and from doctor appointments, filling out forms, liaising with family or simply being a listening ear to cut through medical jargon.

"That is the beauty of our role and what we do. We can do or be anything you want us to be and are not bound by any rules.

"Our job is to empower cancer patients to do what they want to do - we just help them and their families get there."

About 50 people were on board the Milford Mariner for the cruise on Saturday afternoon -  the first overnight cruise of the season for the Real Journeys crew.  People from across the region signed up - including from Mossburn, Invercargill, Oamaru, Dunedin and Wanaka.

Queenstown husband-and-wife duo Nigel Hirst and Margaret O’Hanlon provided entertainment.

Mr Hirst  was  treated for an aggressive form of lymphoma cancer last year.

Mrs O’Hanlon also sang a couple of tracks including Adele’s Someone Like You and Kiwi Brooke Fraser’s Something in the Water.

Real Journeys communications manager Tsehai Tiffin said all money from the cruise  would go directly to the charity.

The initiative, in its third year, has raised a total of $100,000 and has previously supported the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, Queenstown Lakes Family Trust, Wakatipu High School Foundation and Forest & Bird.

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