A former Eltham basketball coach is urging his local community to give up alcohol and raise funds for cancer as he embarks on his own road to recovery.
Shane Maher is encouraging others to get involved in Dry July next month, a national campaign where participants abstain from booze and raise funds for cancer patients and their families and carers. Mr Maher was treated for lymphoma at the Olivia Newton- John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre two years ago and says that without the centre, his outlook would be very different.
Mr Maher has coached many teams over many years at the Eltham Wildcats prior to his diagnosis, and led an active lifestyle.
“It was a shock,” Mr Maher said. “I first had a tumour in my sinus which is very rare. My teeth started aching so I went to the dentist, who couldn’t find anything wrong. They thought it may have been one particular tooth so they pulled that one, and while I was under [anaesthetic] they took a blood sample. And that was it.”
Mr Maher said that he felt like ‘a rabbit in the spotlight’ when he first arrived at the ONJ Centre in Heidelberg for his cancer treatment. “I’d never been to hospital before, not in 50 years of life,” Mr Maher said. But thanks to the staff’s care and effort and readily available information, Mr Maher “got through it ok.”
“I have a long road to recovery, but I’m very fortunate,” Mr Maher said.
Now, this father of three is keen to support the Dry July campaign as part of a push to raise vital funds for the ONJ Centre’s cancer services.
“As sick as I was, I would never wish this on my worst enemy,” Mr Maher said. “If you could help, why wouldn’t you? Everyone at the Centre was fantastic; I’d never have a bad word about them – they made your time in there the best it could be.
“Let’s try and support this cancer hospital to do anything and everything to save each and every person who comes through the door.”
To sign up for Dry July and support the ONJ Centre, visit www.dryjuly.com and select ONJ Centre as your chosen charity.