Widowed husband tells of cancer centre snub anguish

FAMILIES affected by cancer have reacted with anger to news the federal government would not even hear pleas by Peter’s Project campaigners for an integrated cancer care centre in the south-west. 

As the two-year anniversary nears since Rebecca Hintum died from breast cancer, her husband Jeff said he felt let down by the government. 

During her 14-month battle with cancer, the Warrnambool mother became the brave and public face in the fight for a government supported integrated cancer centre.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Hintum described his disappointment at hearing the federal health minister Tanya Plibersek had snubbed the group. 

“I feel frustrated and angry,” Mr Hintum said. “There’s been a lot of support in Warrnambool and a lot of tears over the years about how it affects families.” 

As she fought the disease, Mrs Hintum was forced to travel to Geelong for radiotherapy treatment, away from her three children and leaving Mr Hintum at home to hold the family together for weeks at a time. Two years on, Mr Hintum told of the emotional torment of watching other Warrnambool families undergo a similar ordeal. 

“I know other mothers who are going through the same thing and it’s just gut-wrenching,” he said. With his youngest daughter about to start school, Mr Hintum reaffirmed his support for Peter’s Project and called on the government to act. 

“They need to do something about it. It’s not just Warrnambool, it’s Portland and Mount Gambier — it’s a lot of people this centre will cover.”

Strategies will be put forward next week in the wake of the minister’s response when the Peter’s Project committee gathers for its monthly meeting. 

Committee director Vern Robson said he remained optimistic the group could reverse the minister’s decision in an election year. 

About $5 million has been committed by the state government for radiotherapy, while a site has been earmarked for the centre, Mr Robson said.

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