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Demand for support greater than ever: Sleapy

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The demand for health services, and subsequent support networks, in the region is greater than ever.

That’s according to the man behind Sleapy’s Foundation, Peter Sleap.

The not-for-profit organisation recently joined forces with Canteen, Camp Quality, Hunter Melanoma Foundation, Leukemia Foundation, Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer Council and Little Wings to create the first-of-its-kind Hunter Cancer Hub at Kotara.

Simply known as The Hub – and made possible by a $90,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, it is a space where families and individuals impacted by the insidious disease can access information and assistance from local groups.

“We’ve found since COVID-19, or as things return to ‘normal’ again, we’ve been inundated more than ever for requests of support for people with cancer,” Mr Sleap said.

“So, the need is certainly there.

“People are starting to head back to the doctors because, for whatever reason during the pandemic, they couldn’t before.

“And, they’re finding out that problem they had, which they didn’t deal with in the past two years, is actually cancer.

“Now that we’re involved in The Hub, it’s also increased our profile.

“People are saying there’s a charity that can help me.

“So, it puts more pressure on us to assist them.”

That’s why fundraisers, such as Sleapy’s Day, are so important at the moment, according to Mr Sleap.

The event will take place on Saturday 9 April at Townson Oval – when the South Newcastle Lions tackle the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys in Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League – and continue afterwards at Souths Merewether.

There’ll be Cuts for Cause; a VIP ladies’ marquee with a photo booth, grazing platters and $10 Sleapy’s Splice cocktails; a barbecue and beverages from noon until full-time in first grade; an exhibition match featuring the Souths’ juniors; a magician for the kids; Daniel Joyce will spray paint a surfboard on the day, which will go under the hammer; music; auctions; Club 100; raffles and heaps more.

“We’re desperate to make as much money as possible,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“So, anything we raise this weekend will be a massive boost to the organisation.

“Sleapy’s Foundation is very unique.

“We’re only one of the few charities that support people with cash relief.

“That’s vital, especially when they’re experiencing financial hardship.

“Those who attend Sleapy’s Day on Saturday and later that evening will see people, who have struggled with cancer that we’ve assisted, and their families.

“That really gives you a strong sense of what the foundation is all about.”

Mr Sleap said he was looking forward to the auction of the specially-designed Lions’ jerseys.

“Six people who have passed away in the past year, that had dealings with the foundation, will have their faces on the South Newcastle playing strip,” he explained.

“So, they’re rare.

“The record amount for a jumper is $10,000, paid by ex-NRL star Sione Mata’utia.

“He turned up on the night a couple of years ago with fellow Newcastle Knights Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mitch Barnett.

“And, boy, aren’t we glad they did.”

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