COBDEN’S Bill Malady has refused to sit back and feel sorry for himself since being diagnosed with cancer more than five years ago.
The diagnosis spurred him into becoming a fund-raising crusader for better cancer care facilities, with his total so far reaching $105,000 in the past 12 months.
A mega raffle he ran during the past four months raised $45,000, with Mr Malady selling about $13,000 worth of tickets.
While undergoing weekly chemotherapy, he has spent most other days of the week selling tickets in cafes, hotels and at sports events, travelling from Ballarat to Colac and Port Fairy.
Other fund-raising has come from auctions, dances, concerts and donations.
At one time he also put his extensive collection of Slim Dusty music up for sale in a bid to raise the total.
Fortunately he did not have to part with his music after radio announcer Neil Mitchell heard of Mr Malady’s effort and raised $10,500 for him through an auction of “Neil Mitchell Experience” packages that gives people an opportunity to host the morning radio program.
Mr Malady expects a market this weekend in Ballarat involving about 70 stallholders will contribute at least another $5000.
Funds raised have gone to the Ballarat Base Hospital for its new cancer care centre.
Mr Malady has travelled to Ballarat hospital every Friday for more than 90 weeks to receive chemotherapy for his liver cancer.
“You have to battle on with it,” he said of his attitude to the disease.
He knows well the disruption that travelling long distances to cancer care facilities has on people’s lives.
He is also a supporter of Peter’s Project, which aims to improve cancer care services in Warrnambool and reduce the need for people to travel elsewhere for care.
Mr Malady, 69, is not the only one in his extended family to battle cancer.
His son Sean lost his partner, Cindy Stephens, to cancer in February this year.
Ms Stephens, 32, had only been diagnosed with melanoma at Christmas.
Mr Malady thanked his family and many friends for their support of his fund-raising efforts.
Ballarat Health Services fund-raising director Geoff Millar said Mr Malady’s fund- raising crusade had been “incredible”.
Mr Malady had not only sold many of the tickets in the mega raffle, he had also organised sponsors to provide prizes and placed raffle books across south-west Victoria.
Ballarat Health Services was “terribly appreciative” of Mr Malady’s efforts, Mr Millar said.