Annual Report 09

Chairperson’s AGM June 08/09 Report- Thursday 25th June 09

Dear Members,

DACC is not about any one or two people, it is about a group of people who came together with a common quality care for cancer patients in Donegal. Since DACC was formed 4 years ago, there have been ongoing difficulties from the first few months and there still is today. God knows there has been enough times these disagreements have reached the media and we have still survived…why because we have risen above it, always we said out of respect for cancer patients & their families.

I keep reminding myself and everyone to look at just how very much we have all achieved together. Be in no doubt it takes hours every day to stay on top of it all, but look at the results of such hard work. Remarkable stuff for a small group of people. united in one main aim…. best care for cancer patients in Donegal.On the days when I really am ready to through in the towel and believe me there have been many over the last 4 years I take myself back to why I joined DACC in the first place.

I ask myself the question I have asked ye all to ask yourself and your members often since last August-

  • What does DACC mean to me?
  • What does being part of DACC mean?

Sometimes it is difficult for people to understand the importance of working within structures. But if everyone just goes off and does there own thing, then how can we work together or more importantly achieve what we set out to do?  Best results come from having clear & focused strategies and keeping ourselves “tuned into” what is happening at both local & National level. It is about being proactive rather than re-active.

We in DACC have on many occasions said that we got a mandate from the people of Donegal 15,000 at the May Rally, to work for improved cancer care for the people of Donegal.

We have been talking and working hard for cancer care and patients for 4 years now, yet do we all really know what that means within DACC?

Can anyone here tonight honestly put their hand on their heart and say that they don’t think the people of Donegal don’t deserve best cancer care , that they really believe that people in Donegal are not depending on us to fight for best care for cancer patients, those who have already left us through cancer, those who are on that journey at present and equally as important the people who today are either waiting for results or don’t even know yet that they have that journey ahead. They are depending on us. I want to be part of DACC, an organisation that despite the odds and difficulties has achieved so much for cancer patient’s, can achieve so much more and indeed has already helped and improved the quality of life for people in Donegal. Tomorrow I could be one of them, what about you?.

So what has been achieved in the last year?

Here are a few that come to mind.

  • Last July we hosted a very successful Cancer Conference with Prof. John Crown as keynote speaker,
  • On the 4th August 08 we saw the new full time Breast Surgeon take up his post at Letterkenny General Hospital, the fruit of over 3 years work,
  • Understanding that as a link with Galway University Hospital, a so called Centre of Excellence Letterkenny General Hospital is part of a Centre of Excellence,
  • September we were able to support the Breast Surgeon in promoting the community lecture with world famous Dr Tabar,
  • September -DACC invited to be guests on The Late, Late Show, National recognitation,
  • Last September we raised the issue of the possibility of the Culposcopy Service at LGH being withdrawn.
  • October, we organised ourselves and launched a very successful media campaign with postcards & flyers to ensure this did not happen,
  • The 21 St August this year will see completion of the new designated area for Culposcopy Service which will allow for LGH to be named as a dedicated unit. We will have to keep a close eye on this to ensure that it happens,
  • Ongoing meetings with Breast Check, National Cancer Screening Service to ensure the roll out of Breast Check in Donegal.
  • Proposal to Breast Check to utilise the existing services at LGH for delivery of Breast Check,
  • Relocation of DACC office to town centre to be more accessible to the public,
  • We broke the news after a meeting in Dublin, that the recruitment freeze within the HSE would not allow for the staff necessary for the roll out of Breast Check to be recruited.
  • We launched a media campaign when An Taoiseach was visiting Donegal forcing the official written confirmation to be given to the National Cancer Screening Service.
  • Organised meeting with our Donegal Oireacthats Members and Mr Sugrue Breast Surgeon at LGH to seek support for Breast Cancer Care  & developments at LGH,
  • Have initiated a process to allow for the development of a proposal to develop a Lymphodema Service throughout the County, which could be a model of good practice for the rest of the country.
  • 2nd Eucheminical Service,
  • We have been proactive in meetings with LGH regarding the need for a Consultative Forum and we now see the establishment of a new Patient Forum, which will allow DACC to put forward the views of cancer patients,
  • Ongoing fundraising,
  • Link kept with Local Branch Committee’s re. notice of meeting s and other key information,
  • Monthly reports to DACC Local Branch Members at County Committee meetings.
  • Ongoing monthly County Committee meetings and other meetings as necessary.
  • Our 4th AGM tonight.

Again I say remarkable achievements for a small group of people so Thank you all for your hard work and committment. To everyone who supported us in any way Thank you. 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer.

And I add “let not doing something about cancer care in Donegal be one of the things you are disappointed with yourself about in years to come”

Betty Holmes 25th June 09

Ongoing work I would like to make the new Chairperson and Executive Committee aware off that needs to be followed up and acted on as priorites from tonight:

  • New aims of DACC- a 3 year plan on how to achieve to be drawn up and acted on,
  • Ongoing follow up contact with  key consultants.
  • Ongoing follow up contact and meeting requests to Mr Tony O’ Brien, Breast Check to look at roll out of Breast Check and proposal for Static Unit at LGH,
  • Prof. Tom Keane to be followed up re. visit to LGH remembering that his post finishes in November,
  • Follow up meeting to be arranged with Donegal Oireachtas Members, Mr Sugrue & DACC in September 09,
  • Contact to be kept with LGH re. Research Projects,
  • Continue to seek urgent meetings with An Taoiseach Brain Cowen & Minister Harney re Radiotherapy, National Treatment Purchase Scheme Etc.
  • The need to ensure that LGH is recognised as part of a Centre of Excellence,( worked in a strategic way this can provide opportunities for LGH)
  • Ongoing contact with these key Politicians office,
  • Reviewing all new press releases and statements so we know what is being said and by whom,
  • New Culposcopy Unit at LGH- to be followed up with until officially named as Dedicated Unit,- completion date 21st August
  • Proposal for Lymphodema Service to be developed and followed up on with relevant people, LGH, Community Care HSE, Support agencies,
  • Need to be “tuned in “ and understand the research that is currently being undertaken at LGH and the possibilities for future opportunities through this
  • Regular meetings with Mr Sean Murphy General Manager LGH & Mr Alan Moran Regional Manager HSE West to be sought and followed up with outstanding items on past agenda’s and new issues raised,
  • Follow up information/ statistics got on uptake of Cervical Smears, annual numbers for different cancers in Donegal , 
  • Updating DACC book” You Are Not Alone”
  • Research and follow up on Charitable Status
  • Lease agreement for the new office,
  • Working arrangements at the new office established- 2 offices separate identities,
  • The DACC Website, it requires a lot of time but we need to agree who is to do it.
  • The DACC emails – need to be overseen,
  • Induction to DACC for new members or volunteers so they can be clear on who and what DACC is and who we are not.

Betty Holmes 25th June 09


During the last four years this Organisation has made great strides in achieving their aims and  I was proud to be part of this no matter how small my role. My year as Secretary was very interesting, although they were times the work was difficult and time consuming but nevertheless  I believe the work we are doing is very worth while. As well as my Secretarial duties I  worked with the Office Sub Committee in fundraising events and the organising of the Ecumenical Service.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved for assisting  me in my work in whatever way from the Chair, Betty Holmes,  Noel Coyle and the Strategy Group, Alma O Donnell and the Office Committee, the Executive and all members of DACC.

I look forward to a new year in what ever role I may have and working with everyone  as a team to ensure we strive together to achieve our new aims for best care for cancer patients of Donegal.  

Raymond Doherty

DACC Treasurers Report

AGM 25th June 09

First off I would like to extend my thanks to Stewart and McLaughlin on audited accounts and to everyone who helped me in my post as treasurer.

I wish to thank all who fundraise for DACC so we can carry on putting our energies into help keep our cancer services in Letterkenny and for the people of Donegal.

I would also like to thank them for their continuing support, it is much appreciated.

Sorry for any delays in the accounts as I am still gaining experience in this role as treasurer.

Thanking you for your support

Colette Burke, Treasurer of DACC

 The Office Management Sub Committee

AGM 25th June 09

Dear members and friends

We the office committee wish to thank everyone who helped us through the year with all our fundraising events including the wig walk 08, Hospice coffee day 09, bra walk 09, and also the relocation of our office.

A big thank you to P.J. Gallagher for the use of his premises which we used as our previous office but due to lack of wheelchair access to the office, we decided to relocate to bigger premises, which includes wheelchair access.We would also like to give thanks to Reverend Wright and all who helped to make our ecumenical service 09 a success.

We the office committee would like to welcome Raymond Doherty and Eammon McDevitt who came on board.

Thanks also to the office volunteers Louise McGinley, Joesphine Doherty, Gary Gomringer,  Breege and John Doherty.We received new more up to date information booklets from the I.C.S which are now available in our office.

We have also information on the Marie Keating Patients comfort  fund, information and treatments.

We are now helping patients on a daily basis with links to Galway and Dublin (beds, etc)

Big thank you to all who helped from the office committee


The Action Strategy Sub Committee

AGM Report 25th June 09


It has been another busy year for the Action Strategy Sub Committee of DACC. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that we can secure the best quality care we can for our cancer patients in Donegal and that the excellent services that we have at Letterkenny General Hospital are both retained and built on.

We in the Action Strategy Sub Committee shared a great sense of achievement with our fellow members of DACC when we looked at our achievements not just over the last year but the 4 years. Revisiting our original aims and setting new ones brings both encouragement and the energy necessary to carry on in what sometimes are difficult and frustrating times. At our last AGM we were eagerly awaiting on the new full time Breast Surgeon to take up his post, which we are delighted he did on the 4th August 08, September/ October saw us being very active in working to ensure that our Colposcpy service at Letterkenny General Hospital was re-instated after it had been withdrawn. Indeed we now await the completion of the new discreet dedicated Colposcopy Unit which is due to be completed in August. We will have to “keep our eye on the ball” and ensure that we work until it is then named as a dedicated Colposcopy Unit at LGH.

Regarding Breast Check, as you are aware we have been actively pursuing the roll out for Donegal. This again requires us to be pro active and attend meetings in Dublin. Indeed it was as a result of our last meeting that we discovered that the HSE recruitment freeze would not allow for staff to be recruited that would allow for the roll out of Breast Check in Donegal in 2009 as promised. Once again we did not stop until Breast Check were given an exemption and allowed to recruit the necessary staff. We are again in touch with Breast Check on a very regular basis to ensure that everything is still on course for this year. Believe us, these things just don’t happen!

It is about always being aware of what is happening and able to identify how best to get what we need.

Regarding Letterkenny General Hospital we have a very good relationship with all key members of management and have regular meetings. We see opportunities for future development at LGH and it is good that our relationship with the hospital allows us to discuss these in detail.

At present we are working to ensure that a proper Lymphodema service will be available to the whole of the county. We have made a proposal where the service can be integrated into the community. At present we are hopeful of this happening, and again we will keep following up on this. We have to say that regarding this there is interest at a National level.       

We have repeatedly requested meetings with our Taoiseach, An Tanaiste and  Minister for Health over the last year and find it most disappointing that they do not see our concerns for the people of Donegal as important.

Indeed we ask “ Do we in Donegal matter”? But don’t worry we in the Action Strategy Sub Committee will not take no for an answer and will keep pursuing this with vigour.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 continue to be 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. Indeed we have often been told at various meetings both in Donegal and Nationally that if it weren’t for DACC Donegal and Letterkenny General Hospital wouldn’t have got all that they have.

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.At present we are asking people to make themselves aware of our new aims and what the situation is regarding cancer care in Donegal. We ask that you do not to sit back in these times of cut backs and financial constraints and allow a situation to develop where our cancer services will or could be downgraded. It could happen if we are not focused at all times.

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 25th June 2009

Since the AGM in June 2008, the Action Strategy Sub Committee has been working hard to fulfil the aims and objectives of DACC. Many Strategy meetings were held during this time, and we met with LGH management on a few occasions. We also attended several meetings in Dublin. A wide range of letters, emails and documents have been written during this time. Our committee organised the talk by Professor Crowne on 12th July 2008 in Letterkenny, and facilitated several talks by Mr. Michael Sugrue. We were very involved in the successful campaign to have LGH designated as an accredited Colposcopy unit. Our group were also represented at “Capricorn” CD launch and the Wig Walk.

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.


Local Branch’s of DACC registered at AGM June 08/09

  • The Finn Valley Branch
  • The Glenswilly Branch
  • The East Donegal Branch
  • The Donegal Town Branch
  • The Moville Branch
  • The Creeslough Branch
  • The Letterkenny Branch
  • The North Inishowen Branch
  • The Burt/ Newtowncunningham/Killea Branch


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