Batting above average with milestone baseball donation for Westmead Hospital’s cancer centre

Melissa and Martin of Thornleigh Baseball Club, Anne Caboche, operations manager cancer services and professor Paul Harnett, director of cancer services.

For 12 years running, the Thornleigh Baseball Club has raised money for Westmead Hospital’s Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre (CPMCC) to honour their former long-standing leader of the club, Liz McKewin.

Liz received treatment at CPMCC many years ago but has since sadly passed away.

This year, the club has donated their biggest cheque yet… for more than $12,000!

Thornleigh Baseball Club representatives Martin and Melissa presented the cheque to the centre on 27 May 2022 with Martin saying how they were both “blown away by the support from the community for a great family who were involved and still are involved in the club”.

Liz’s husband Gary was club president and Martin said Liz was the “backbone of the club”.

“She was there for everyone and was the mother, the manager, the sectary and the scorer,” said Martin.

“I don’t think there’s a job besides president that she didn’t do in the club, and even though Gary was the president, she probably did that as well.”

Martin said Liz is still missed by the club and knows through family anecdotes that the CPMCC was extremely important to them, which is why, 12 years later, they are still running these fundraisers to show their support.

“It’s just something we can do to help the cancer centre and I think it’s really important to bring the community together to do that,” he said.

The donations are used for a wide variety of patient needs.

Patients who are struggling to pay their utility bills we can make contributions to help take some of the stress off which is amazing,” says Anne Caboche, cancer services operations manager.

“We also had an example this year a lady bought a new wig – it was quite expensive so we paid half of that for her; and we also had a gentleman whose mobility scooter had broken down, so we were able to pay for the servicing so he could get around again.

“It’s really practical things that are challenging for patients but we can contribute to help them keep going in life.”

Professor Paul Harnett, director of cancer services, added it’s not just the patients who benefit from the donations.

“When the staff know what’s being done, everyone lifts their head a bit higher,” said Paul.

“It gives everyone a spring in their step. It’s not just the money. It’s the feeling the work we’re doing is important for people.”