Page 1510 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2006

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Jackey Best—cancer treatment


MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (6.00): I rise tonight for two reasons. The first is to enlist the help of members who want to donate to a very worthy cause concerning a seriously ill Canberra woman who has to pay a lot of money for her medical treatment because it is yet to be put on the federal schedule. Her name is Jackey Best. Members might have heard of her. She is a marvellous mother with a lovely husband. She is a magnificent painter. She is an indigenous lady who does some magnificent indigenous art and is a very talented person. She has already battled cancer, having undergone numerous operations and chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions.

She has beaten cancer on several occasions. She had a brain tumour and there was only a fifty-fifty chance of success there, but she came through that magnificently. However, she is still getting treatment for another bout of cancer and is now receiving treatment with the drug Avastin. The cost of this drug is huge. It is not on the pharmaceutical register yet. The cost is $8,000 per treatment every three weeks and it is likely that Jackey will require this treatment for the next 12 months.

I am very happy to help Jackey and I have appealed already to the Canberra community for funds. I am delighted that we are very close to having raised $10,000 in this particular part of the appeal through just a lot of good, hard work amongst her friends. In a low key way, she has already raised about another $13,000. We are up to about $23,000, but her treatment could cost anything up to $186,000. The treatment is going exceptionally well; it is basically saving Jackey’s life. Any donation would be welcome.

People interested in donating can contact my office. Cheques can be made out to the Billabong Aboriginal Organisation. Please put on the back of any cheque that it is for the Jackey Best appeal and post it to C/- Linda Vincent, PO box 5638, Latham, ACT, 2615. Of course, donations are tax deductible.

In the recent bout of the appeal I said that once it reached $5,000 I would have my head shaved. I will be doing that next Thursday, the 18th.

Mrs Dunne: You are overdue for a haircut.

MR STEFANIAK: I am due for a haircut. I am pretty ugly and I suppose that I cannot get much more ugly. I hope that I will not scare children. Someone did tell me that if you cut your hair it actually grows back better and I am looking forward to that in a way. It is for a fantastic cause. She is truly a magnificent, inspirational lady and, if anyone is interested in donating, please do so. That would be fantastic. We might have a few extra thousand by the 18th, in which case Lisa Harvey, who is a prominent real estate agent, and Jamie Best, who has a beard about two feet long, are also going to have their heads shaved and in Jamie’s case I think that his beard will be shaved as well. I commend that appeal to members.

Turning to my next point, I note that the finals season is coming up for the ACT Brumbies. This week they are to play the Crusaders without their halves combination of George Gregan, who has been suspended for a week, and

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