Team ‘passionate’ about event

Members of the Mercy Hospital team are ready to take part in Saturday’s Dunedin Relay for Life,...
Members of the Mercy Hospital team are ready to take part in Saturday’s Dunedin Relay for Life, and are keen to smash their fundraising goal of $5000. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Stalwart Dunedin Relay for Life participants, the Mercy Hospital team are raring to go ahead of Saturday’s event at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Comprising 17 nurses and general hospital staff, along with family and friends, the Mercy Hospital team is "super passionate" about the event and its goal of raising $150,000 for the Cancer Society in the south.

Team captain Emma Nuttall, who is executive assistant to the hospital’s chief operating officer, said group members had been working hard towards their fundraising goal of $5000 and were delighted to have additional support from the hospital’s charitable outreach fund.

"People have been incredibly generous."

Mrs Nuttall said the Relay for Life’s cause of celebration, remembrance and fighting back against cancer, was "dear to a lot of people’s hearts", including several team members.

Nurse practitioner Amanda Dalton knows first-hand how vital the work of the Cancer Society is, after her husband Andy Dalton was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of thyroid cancer.

In the 18 months since, the Dalton family had received "fantastic support" from the Cancer Society, which had provided practical help and resources, especially around telling the children about their father’s condition.

"Like most people, we hadn’t had any personal experience until this happened — when a bomb like this goes off in your life, it is hard to know the right path," Mrs Dalton said.

Thanks to self-funded treatment, Mr Dalton was "still with us", and the Cancer Society continued to provide invaluable support, she said.

Mercy Hospital chief people officer Ange McNulty returned to Dunedin from Auckland several years ago, when her mum Alida McNulty was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. As it was during the Covid pandemic, the support provided was somewhat limited to online services, but still valuable, Ms McNulty said.

Her mother died in August, 2020, and then her 36-year-old sister Felicity Musk was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 11 months later. After six months of treatment was unsuccessful, Felicity chose to self-fund treatment that involved trips to Christchurch every three weeks — and the Cancer Society offered its support.

She died in September, 2022.

"It was an incredibly difficult time, but the Cancer Society and the Hospice were amazing — their support and advice were great," Ms McNulty said.

Both Mrs Dalton and Ms McNulty feel that research into new treatments is of vital importance to provide innovative medications, such as those accessed by their loved ones.