There was barely a dry eye among those gathered to celebrate the opening of the new South West Regional Cancer Centre on Saturday.
Tears of joy and pride were shared among the crowd as they were reminded of the community’s efforts to make the cancer centre dream a reality.
Former Premier Denis Napthine was among the key supporters who addressed the crowd and paid tribute to Peter’s Project founder Vicki Jellie.
“(She) is the drive and energy and the enthusiasm that has been the heart and soul of this endeavour,” he said.
Dr Napthine said it was a day for the whole community to feel proud.
“Each and every member of the great south-west community made this project happen, he said.
“It is your project, it is your achievement, it is your day to celebrate.”
Dr Napthine likened the occasion to a child’s birthday and said the end result had exceeded all expectations.
“This is even better than I expected,” he said.
“This is like a birthday cake with whipped cream, icing and a cherry on top, and a few nuts as well, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
There was silence among those gathered when Ms Jellie took to the stage. Her honest reflection of a dream that became reality triggered many a tear among those gathered.
“We have a history of looking after our own,” she said of the south-west community, which raised $5 million to get the project off the ground.
Someone said to me just over seven years ago that that a community doesn't build a hospital, now I know that was wrongPeter's Project founder Vicki Jellie
“Someone said to me just over seven years ago that a community doesn't build a hospital, now I know that was wrong.
“I know Peter would be proud.”
The long-time campaigner received an emotional standing ovation for her words at the official opening.
Epworth Radiation Oncology director of operations Paul Fenton also paid tribute to the south-west community and said the centre would bring a range of benefits.
“This centre will bring passion and dignity to cancer sufferers whilst bringing technology closer to their home,” he said.