Daughter donates $18,500 in Virginia Cullane's memory

LIFE-SAVING FUNDS: Orange Health Service clinical trials manager Stephen Millard accepted an $18,500 donation from Jenny Cullane. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1025jktrials1
LIFE-SAVING FUNDS: Orange Health Service clinical trials manager Stephen Millard accepted an $18,500 donation from Jenny Cullane. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1025jktrials1

PATIENTS on melanoma, breast cancer and colorectal cancer trials will be able to continue their potentially life-saving treatments partially thanks to a woman who raised $18,500 selling books.

Cullane Book Store owner Jenny Cullane donated the funds to the Clinical Trials Unit at Orange Health Service on Wednesday, in memory of her mother Virginia, who passed away after a nine-month battle with terminal cancer in 2014.

Mrs Cullane started the Canowindra store and when she was diagnosed she formed the Virginia Cullane Cancer Research Foundation.

“We released $12,000 by the time Mum died and I continued sporadically – people have given donations and we’ve sold books at $1, $2 and $5,” Ms Cullane said.

“A lot of them came from our stock so I still buy books and put them into the charity.

“People who knew my mum are still coming into the shop and handing over $100 because Mum touched so many hearts – I don’t know many people who when they’re diagnosed with terminal cancer go, ‘well how can I help others?’ but that’s what Mum did.”

She thanked those who had lent her premises for the secondhand store and helped her run it.

“One day they’ll crack [cancer], one day they’ll work it out and that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

Clinical trials manager Stephen Millard accepted the donation, saying the unit had been able to recruit two extra nurses.

“The clinical trials unit is essentially a self-funding unit and so any donations we receive go directly towards resources. [It] saves them from having to go to Sydney for clinical trials,” he said.

There are currently 14 clinical trials under way at Orange Health Service, which has the only unit in the central west.

Mr Millard said the length of hospital stays depended on the treatment, from one hour for oral treatments to several for intravenous treatments, and follow-ups could last as long as 10 years. 

“We’ve got the first phase one melanoma study to occur in the central west – phase one studies were thought to be several years away, but we’ve been lucky enough to start one here,” he said.

One day they’ll crack it, one day they’ll work it out and that’s what it’s all about.

Jenny Cullane

Mr Millard said pharmaceutical companies ran the trials and collated the data, with the first results expected in the next couple of years.