Annual Report 08

                                     Donegal Action for Cancer Care

       DACC_logo                           “Equal Access for Equal Need”                         Rally Picture

                                                              Chairperson’s Address

                                                               AGM    26th June 08

Dear fellow members, friends and everyone,

                                                                       It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I was nominated to the above post.For DACC it has been another year of very hard work through what have been mostly difficult times. All this work happens in a voluntary capacity with an amazing amount of hours being given to ensure that best care is secured for our cancer patients.

Sometimes it may appear and indeed we have been ridiculed for what some thought was our loss of focus.

Some within & outside of DACC have felt we were not being vocal on occasions. We put it too you, if you were a cancer patient or the family of a patient, how would you feel if you heard people arguing on the radio on a near daily basis all in the name of cancer patients? Would it convince you that central to DACC is best care for cancer patients. I think not!DACC are more focused than ever with ongoing meetings, far too many to list, with all the relevant people, ongoing research work happening on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, document after document regarding cancer being studied and examples used, letters being written and phone calls made and all of this followed up on.

For each and every meeting DACC take time to meet in advance to prepare, drawing up questions, looking back to see what has been answered and then present themselves and the organisation in a professional manner at their meetings.

So many things have happened among which were the opening and establishment of our office, the training up of our Office Administrator, the continuous meetings, the Interdenominational Service for those affected by cancer, our Men’s Health Awareness night, with many more booked for September / October, our upcoming “Perfect Partnerships” night in July.

I am not going to single anyone out for thanks as there are so many people who in their own way contribute to the ongoing work of DACC. This happens both within and outside of DACC. It is a great organisation with so many good people prepared to share the work for the good of cancer in the county.As I retire from the role of Chairperson I would like to wish the new Executive continued success.

To the Sub Committee’s- keep up the good work.

To the Local Branches- I ask that we all work together, communicate with your members, invite others to join and educate those you are in contact with regarding the current state of cancer care and indeed why we need the development of Letterkenny General Hospital if we are to ensure that our cancer services are not to be downgraded in the future.

To all I say sincere thanks & congratulations on all the work and achievements to date.

Seamus O’ Donnell          26th June 08

DACC Secretary’s Report

AGM 26th June 08


I had held the position of Assistant Secretary until 3 months ago.

With the resignation of the Secretary I was nominated and voted in at a County Committee meeting until the AGM in June. The work at this level was very new to me and it took me a while to find my feet.

In the last three months I have become very aware of the amount of work that happens at Executive level within the organisation. All of our correspondence goes out from the office with the office as a return address. Direction is on occasion given to those in the office of what has to be done and at all times have I found them to be a good support and reliable in getting my requests in the post. DACC must always be to the fore in what is happening and ensuring that letters are always going to the relevant people.

I have not always been able to make the County Committee meetings on health grounds so I wish to convey my thanks to all involved in DACC for their understanding and to our Chairperson Seamus for his support on those occasions.

We in DACC should be very proud of ourselves as we do not let difficulties get in the way of working towards best care for our cancer patients. We remain focused at all times.

Raymond Doherty 26th June 08


DACC Treasurers Report

26th June 08


I had held an assistant post until the Treasurer resigned.

I was nominated and voted in at a County Committee meeting 3 months ago.

In my role as Assistant Treasurer I had been spared the work involved in keeping the accounts and had no practice.

When the Treasurer resigned the books had been with our accountant Stewart & Mc Loughlin so I didn’t have anywhere to start from.

It took me awhile but I am now finding my feet and am very aware of Income, Expenditure, Receipt’s, Reconciling Balances and Banking.

I extend my thanks to Stewart & Mc Loughlin on audited on our accounts and to everyone who has helped me in this post

Mostly I would like to thank those who continue to fundraise for DACC so that we can put our energies into staying focused in our fight to secure cancer services for the people of the North West.

Collette Burke, Treasurer.         

Report from the PRO of DACC

Mr Paddy Hume

14th June 07- 26th June 08


It has been a busy year for DACC and as it was an election year we spent some time lobbying.

We met An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Letterkenny General Hospital in March 07 for 45 minutes.

He assured us we would meet with Mary Harney, Minister for Health.

We met Enda Kenny in Buncrana but felt we were not listened to.

In November 07 we met with Minister Mary Harney and then in February 08 we met with Prof Tom Keane. Both these meetings were in Dublin.

In both cases we felt we were listened to but no further progress promised.

We then had a meeting with Dr James O’ Reilly, Opposition Spokesperson on Health.

Again a disappointing meeting, the opposition were proposing a motion in the Dail but their motion barely mentioned Donegal, Letterkenny was mentioned once in one line.

We had an Ecumenical Service for Cancer Suffers & friends in St Eunan’s Cathedral which was a resounding success and it is hoped to have this as a yearly event using a different church each time.

Our fight continues for the improvement in services for the people of Donegal.

Paddy Hume  26th June 08

The Office Management Sub Committee

      AGM 26th June 08


Dear Members, Friends and all,

The Office Management Sub Committee was formed last summer when we secured our new office.For those who were elected onto the sub committee Lynn Mc Devitt, Collette Burke, Margaret Mc Nutt and myself it was both a new experience and another responsibility within DACC.

The roles were Collette Burke as the Office Sub Committee Secretary and myself as the Office Sub Committee Chairperson.This in itself took a while for us to get used to and indeed understand that each part of DACC, Executive Committee and Sub Committee’s all had different roles and responsibilities although we are all accountable to the overall Executive and County Committee. This initially caused us some problems and difficulties but we got there.

It took awhile for us to get the office equipped with the basic needs so that we would be in a position to accommodate our new part time Office Administrator Susan Rodgers . We must extend our thanks to Kathleen Burke who as Treasurer at the time helped us with the initial tasks.Between September when Susan started and Christmas our time was mostly taken up with putting systems in place, recruiting volunteers and getting to know each other and our roles. It wasn’t always easy but we got there.

We must extend our sincere thanks to Margaret Mc Nutt who has since resigned, for her work and time in volunteering in the office at the beginning when we were finding our feet. Thank you Margaret.

After Christmas our energies were put into both providing training for our administrator, developing structures and raising awareness of both DACC and the office facility.At this time we had our devoted regulars who volunteered on a rota basis to meet the needs under Health & Safety regulations to ensure that our worker was not left alone in the office.

This for us provided a bit of a problem as we seen it as almost defeating the purpose of having a worker when we now had to continue to be available on a voluntary basis to man the office. Anyway with the support of Margaret Lehane, Philomena Gallagher, Marie Kelly, Collette Burke and James Sweeney. We must also say thanks to Bridget Mc Intyre who helped us out when needed. We now have an established system in place and new volunteers are always welcome.  We must send our best wishes to Margaret Lehane as she convalesces. Acknowledging the role of volunteers within the office we took them all out for a bite of lunch as a way of thank you on Friday 20th June.

To date over 600 DACC information packs have been distributed throughout the county, over 150 Men’s Health Awareness packs distributed, promotional posters distributed around the county, invitations to visit the office posted around the county, a lot of networking with relevant organisations, The Big Bus has been organised by DACC, a coffee morning/ afternoon for the Hospice, a Lymphodema evening hosted in the office, ongoing administrative support to local branches who request it, ongoing contact with local branches, monthly written reports provided at the County Committee meetings, our website is updated on a very regular basis, a very successful Men’s Health Night with more arranged for September and a promotional night organised for the 18th July called Perfect Partnerships, ongoing office meetings, requests for our book “You Are Not Alone” being met by postage our hand delivery, a good range of other cancer literature acquired and available in the office. Requests for additional information is also sought through the office and this too would be posted out in response to those requests. A lot of other administrative work is ongoing on a daily basis within the office.On occasions we need small improvements made around the office, i.e. a door knocker, post box, display unit for our pamphlets mounted and we always call on our own Eamon Mc Devitt who always helps us out. Thank you Eamon for your time and work.As part of our requirement with our Office Administrator, DACC have a responsibility to support the worker with training and this has been ongoing for Susan with her training taking place on a daily basis within the office environment. Susan’s post is for 19.5 hours per week which is quiet short.

Visitors to the office are met with a warm welcome from Susan who is always there with energy, a listening ear and a lovely cup of tea.

 Thank you Susan.

There are so many people we need to thank, so to all who helped in any way we say thank you.We must offer our sincere thanks to the residents of 13 St. Columba’s Terrace for their ongoing support and patience with us taking up their parking spaces. We intend to give them tickets to our evening on the 18th July as both a thank you and a way of updated them on the work we are doing.

We know we may not always get it right but we work very hard in a voluntary capacity for the good of our cancer patients, their families and to ensure that we have excellent cancer services where there needed.

I would like to thank my co- committee Lynn, Collette for their ongoing support. We hope to see you all at our upcoming event “Perfect Partnerships” on the 18th July in the mount Errigal.May we continue to build on what we have started in the coming year.

Thank you everyone, Alma O’ Donnell, Chairperson Office Sub Committee

26th June 08

Report by Susan Rodgers, Office Administrator

Almost a year! Hard to believe how times slips by so fast!

Where to begin?

I have had the opportunity of meeting and working with a wonderful bunch of like minded people, who care so passionately about Cancer, Cancer Patients and their families.I have experienced so much here in the Office in so short a time, from the client looking for information to the ongoing guidance, support and training received daily, from members of DACC and the volunteers, who are here daily to lend a hand with tasks & events that are coming up, such as information packs, flyers and so on.

Volunteers are an asset to any group and I thank each and every one of them for their support.As equally the role of administration was new to me, it was also a new place for DACC, as this really set down solid foundations, created a base for members of the public, patients to come to for support, a listening ear and information.

As with anything new there were difficulties to overcome, roles to be identified, boundaries to be set.From simply getting to know each other, to putting procedures and systems in place.

We now have a wonderful office with loads of information,  a good stock of teabags! and of course a listening ear,so please accept an invite to drop in anytime to have a look at what we have to offer.

The experience and opportunity to get training and up skilled, is one which is very valuable to both the worker and the group they are placed with, it gives back something while helping others.

                                                                   regards Susan!

The Action Strategy Sub Committee

AGM Report 26th June 08

It has been another busy year for the Action Strategy Sub Committee of DACC. We are all working in a voluntary capacity. We have found that the time commitment required to ensure that we do our very best to secure improved cancer services for the people of Donegal requires an awful lot of hours.We have had meetings upon meetings throughout the last year with us attending a lot more than just County Committee meetings. Indeed a lot of our meetings have had to be during the day requiring the members to take time off work, employ babysitters and other help.

But we are passionate about both our cancer patients and Letterkenny General Hospital, so we don’t mind the sacrifice, indeed it is an honour to be able to do our bit.

Each time the Action Strategy Sub Committee have brought proposals to the County Committee meeting for approval as we do with all proposals it has been encouraging the support that we receive from each person within the County Committee.

We are delighted that together with the people of Donegal we will in July see the new Breast Surgeon take up his post.Part of our work throughout the year has been to keep a very close eye on this post and follow up on the detail.We have worked tirelessly to ensure that the excellent services that we have at Letterkenny General Hospital are built on.

This has required meeting after meeting with all those who are in a position to either ensure this happens or speak loudly for the people of Donegal. At present we are asking people to make themselves aware of what the situation is and not sit back and allow a situation to develop where our cancer services will be downgraded.To my fellow members of the Sub Committee my sincere thanks as to all involved with DACC. To the people of Donegal I now ask for your continued support and involvement. To all who helped & supported us, without you the journey would be harder.

Thank You. Noel A Coyle, Chairperson of the Action Strategy Sub Committee.

The Action Strategy Sub Committee

Report by Secretary to AGM 26th June 2008

Since the AGM in June 2007, the Action Strategy Sub Committee has been working hard to fulfil the aims and objectives of DACC.

This included holding over forty meetings which were held in various locations, including Dublin on several occasions. Many letters, emails and documents have been written during this time. We were very proud to launch our book “You Are Not Alone” in October 2007 after many hours of hard work, and we have distributed it throughout the county and indeed further afield in some cases. We also posted it on our website.A member of our group updates the website on a regular basis.We also organised the recent Interdenominational Service in Letterkenny on 27th April.

We continue to work on behalf of DACC and the people of Donegal to retain and improve the excellent cancer services at Letterkenny General Hospital. Gráinne Gillen, minutes secretary, Action Strategy Sub Committee.


The North West Wellness Centre /

 North West Cancer Screening

AGM Report 26th June 08


North West Wellness Centre (NWWC) renamed North West Cancer Screening (NWCS) to more accurately reflect the project mission.A number of fundraising activities took place during the year. A number of new fundraising initiatives are in the pipeline and will take place in the future. Some of these are fairly large events and require considerable preplanning.The study of equipment alternatives is continuing and the analysis is progressing such that a decision can be reached relatively quickly when the equipment is required close to its actual use. As you can imagine there are newer options coming on stream all the time so that the final equipment decision will not be made until later in the overall project.

Discussions are continuing on the medical/clinical aspects of the project. This involves meeting with a considerable number of medical experts and in particular cancer treatment experts. Since the number specialities involved is quite large and technically complex the progress has been and will continue to be slow. This is the first community based project of this type to be attempted in this country and as such is involved in a activity which is both complex and time consuming as there is no existing model in Ireland and this a contributing factor to very slow progress. Sean O Donnell, 26th June 08



    • We have 24 registered members in our Branch. 
    • Two of our members are involved at County Level of DACC:
    • our Chairperson is also outgoing Chairperson of DACC
    • our Vice-Chairperson is also Chairperson of the Strategy Group of DACC.
    • We meet monthly, usually the Wednesday after the County Committee Meeting.
    • On average, fifteen members attend our monthly meetings.
    • Notice of meetings is placed in Church Newsletters and the Local Press.
    • Any relevant information from the County Committee Meetings is transmitted to our members at local meetings.
    • Two of our members, among other DACC members, travelled to Dublin to  met politicians
    • We encourage our members to:
    • Visit the DACC Website
    • Attend the County Committee Meetings
    • Bring any issues in relation to cancer care to our attention.
    • Our Annual General Meeting is due to take place on 2nd July, 2008.
  • Calendar of Fundraising events, during the year


    • Airtricity Sponsored Walk took place on 29th September, 2007 – charitable organisations within a twelve mile radius of the Wind farms in Drumkeen were eligible to apply.  Airtricity promised to give a substantial donation to each charitable group, which took part in the walk, relative to the amount of actual sponsorship raised.  A number of branch members took part and a very enjoyable day was had by all.  A total of €5,617.12 was raised and was divided between the Donegal Hospice and DACC.
    • Easter Monday Sponsored Swim.  Three members took part in the swim namely, Francis Coyle, Bridget McIntyre and Seamus O’Donnell.   The swim yielded an income of €5,500 approximately - two cards and sponsorship yet to be returned.  The proceeds of the swim are to be divided between Donegal Hospice, Sr. Anne McLoone’s Respite Care Project at St.Joseph’s Hospital, Stranorlar and DACC.
    • One of our members, James Sweeney, has exhibited his paintings (abstract) in the Just-Inn, Ballybofey and has indicated that 50% of the profits will be donated to DACC.
  • Emby O’Donnell,


Donegal Action for Cancer Care

The Glenswilly Branch


We meet every two months or more often if there are issues to be discussed.

Meetings are generally held in the Parochial Hall.

Meetings are advertised either in the Church newsletter or by word of mouth.

Attendance ranges from 8 – 20 people.

We encourage members to keep themselves informed on cancer issues and be vocal in their support for Letterkenny General Hospital. We encourage members to use the DACC website for updates/ information.

For our annual fundraising we hosted an All Cancer Patient Fashion Show on the 2nd October which raised €6000 which was divided between DACC and the Oncology Dept Letterkenny General Hospital.

One of our members is also on the DACC office rota.

We are in attendance at all County Committee meetings.

The Glenswilly Branch of DACC remain committed to the aims & objectives of DACC.

Marie Kelly, Secretary .

Donegal Action for Cancer Care

The Letterkenny Branch


Due to ongoing health issues among some members meetings have been held every two-three months. We must extend our best wishes to Margaret Lehane an active and dedicated member who is receiving treatment at the moment.

We continually attend and are represented at the County Committee meetings.

We remain totally focused on the aims of DACC and will continue to work towards ensuring that the necessary cancer services are available for our cancer patients.

Rose Boylan

Donegal Action for Cancer Care

“Equal Access for Equal Need”

                                             Burt/ Killea & Newtowncunningham Local Branch


This branch was among the first to be established being formed in June 06 by Betty Holmes. We have a number of registered members with others who attend on an occasional basis, some weren’t present when membership was being registered. The group has not held an AGM since it was formed so this will have to be addressed in the coming months.The Chairperson was Margaret Mc Nutt who was elected in June 2006 remained in the position until she resigned in February 2008.

Kathleen Burke took on the role of Secretary of the Local Branch and resigned in January 2008.Both of these people held positions on the Executive Committee and their resignation applied to this also. We would like to thank Margaret & Kathleen for their contribution.

Due to the demands within DACC regarding ongoing meetings at Committee level it has not been possible to organise local branch meetings in recent months although some members of the branch are very active within DACC at County level, namely Betty Holmes & Collette Burke with other members attending County Committee meetings.

Some confusion exists within the group at present but contact has been maintained with those listed as members. Some people had not been attending since last year due to various reasons.Hopefully this will change in September with both meetings and information nights planned.

It will not take long to get the community focused at a time when there is a very the high incidence recently in the area of CANCER.At present Collette Burke who is a member is the Treasurer at Executive level is the listed contact at present for this branch.

There are many good people in the Local Branch area who are depending on DACC to both represent & work for them for improved cancer services and the development of Letterkenny General Hospital.

We will continue to do our best no matter what the circumstances are.The Local Branch hosted a Flower Demonstration with Josie Coll as our annual fundraising for this year.

        Donegal Action for Cancer Care

    “Equal Access for Equal Need”



Among DACC’s achievements are:


  • The May Awareness Rally.
  • The June Candlelight Vigil.
  • 3 successful AGM’s
  • A 2nd Birthday Celebration.
  • Monthly County Committee meetings.
  • Ongoing Executive, Action Strategy Sub Committee, Office Management Sub Committee & Local Branch meetings.
  • Structures within the organisation.
  • The Action Strategy Sub Committee.
  • The newly formed Office Management Sub Committee.
  • The successful application for funding to The Citizens

         Information Board to compile an information book.

  • The compiling and printing of the cancer information book for cancer patients, their families and friends, “You Are Not Alone.”
  • The successful Official Launch and distribution of the book
  •       “You Are Not Alone.”
  • Successful application to FAS for a part time worker and recruitment of an Office Administrator.
  • The securing and establishing of an office.
  • Training up of our Office Administrator.
  • The successful Official Launch of the office.
  • The development of our new website
  • The development and distribution of our Information Flier.
  • Ongoing meetings with politicians, HSE, Cancer Support Organisations, etc.
  • Ongoing administration work of the organisation.
  • Attendance at meetings, events etc that is relevant to cancer services & development.
  • Ongoing fundraising.
  • The securing of Cross Party support and commitment in our aim to develop Letterkenny General Hospital as the 9th Cancer Centre of Excellence at our meeting in Dail Eireann on the 24th October 07 with our elected representatives.
  • Meeting with Minister Mary Harney on the 15th November 07.
  • Meeting with Prof. Tom Keane on 7th Feb. 08.
  • Individual meetings with politician’s.
  • Meeting with An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern April 08.
  • Ongoing meetings with health representatives.
  • Attendance at the Dail for the cancer debate
  • Distribution of over 600 Information Packs through the county and further.
  • Hosting of our very successful Interdenominational Service for those affected by cancer.
  • Hosting of our very successful Men’s Health Information night.
  • Distribution of over 150 Men’s Health packs.
  • Bringing the Action Cancer Big Bus on 4 different occasions.
  • At present working to develop Letterkenny General Hospital as the  9th Centre of Excellence
  •    on a Cross Border basis to serve the North West building on the excellent services already at LGH.
  • Remaining respectful in all that we do in the name of improved cancer services.

Remaining focused at all times

Please remember that all this work is carried out on a voluntary capacity.

Donegal Action for Cancer Care

wish to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone ,

individuals, families, groups or business’s for their ongoing support to secure improved cancer services for the people of Donegal and the North West.

There is no such thing as help that is not valued by DACC, as people have their own way of how they can help.

    It is all appreciated and it does make a difference.

The journey to secure improved cancer services should not be left to a few people as cancer affects us all in some way.


In the words of William Shakespeare:

“How far that little candle throws his beams!

So shines a good deed in a weary world”


Thank You Everyone,

together we can make a difference.

                     Donegal Action for Cancer Care

would like to extend a sincere thank you to the

Letterkenny Community Development Project

for undertaking to be the Sponsor Group that allowed for DACC to have an Office Administrator for all the support that they provide in that role. Thanks to Mary Rose Sheridan, Supervisor for her support.

Also thanks to FAS for their support.


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