By Angela Norval
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death.
It is important to know that there is a support network available to guide those dealing with this form of cancer through their diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Thankfully there are people like Rob McCulloch who are able to provide this valuable support through the Bundaberg and District Prostate Cancer Support Group.
The only recipient in Queensland, Rob has been awarded the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s prestigious annual Max Gardner Award for Distinguished Service.
The annual award is named in memory of the late Max Gardner, a passionate advocate for prostate cancer control in Australia, helping to establish PCFA’s nationwide Prostate Cancer Support Group Network.
Rob and three other recipients have together contributed more than 71 years of combined voluntary work to helping men and their partners cope with the disease.
Rob McCulloch joined the Bundaberg PCSG following his diagnosis and surgery in 2007 and has been leader of the Bundaberg PCSG since 2009.
He became a PCFA Ambassador in 2013, while also serving on the then Queensland Chapter Council.
He has been integral in the establishment of other support groups in the region and has dedicated countless hours to community awareness and peer support over the past 15 years.
Rob said it was a tremendous honour and he was very humbled to be the only Queenslander to receive this award this year together with three other NSW leaders.
“My main goal in what I do is being a support for these men and their families as I understand just how daunting cancer diagnosis and treatment can be and I enjoy being a part of our group,” he said.
PCFA chairman Steve Callister commended the award winners.
“They are truly remarkable figures in the Australian prostate cancer community, dedicating many hundreds of hours of service to other men and families impacted by the disease and raising awareness to help us defeat it,” he says.
“Their tireless advocacy has advanced our work towards a future free of prostate cancer and has changed many lives for the better.”
PCFA chief executive officer Anne Savage thanked Rob as one of the Max Gardner recipients for his leadership.
“Rob McCulloch has been recognised for his significant contribution to prostate cancer support in the Bundaberg region since 2009, as he’s supported countless men locally though their diagnosis, improving quality of life for those going through what can be the most challenging time of their lives,“ she said.
“Rob’s involvement provides increased access to local support options for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“We are honoured to recognise Rob for his distinguished service to PCFA and thank him for his ongoing efforts.
“As a charity, our work is only made possible through the help of volunteers and supporters like Rob.
“A local support group can be a lifeline to men with prostate cancer and groups provide the opportunity for men to connect with others who are going through a similar experience and find understanding, advice and support.
“This can help improve quality of life and give men the confidence to move forward.“