Tropic takes a look at the top 10 highlights of Far North Queensland’s homegrown charity COUCH and the COUCH Wellness Centre.
With a proud history and a passion for delivering better cancer health services in the Cairns region, local charity COUCH and its COUCH Wellness Centre have come a long way since the first campaign was launched in 2006. To celebrate COUCH’s success – and vision for the future – Tropic spoke to the COUCH team to highlight their achievements and services.
1. Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre
When the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre welcomed its first patient for treatment on 27 June 2011, it was the culmination of years of campaigning, fundraising and lobbying by COUCH and the community.
Named in honour of Liz Plummer who shared her cancer journey with the public and crystallised the need for radiation treatment in Cairns, the drive for better services was spearheaded by COUCH Charity Founders, Charles and Pip Woodward. Thousands of patients who would normally have to travel to Townsville and beyond for treatment are now able to receive treatment and care locally.
2. Local Charity since 2006
Since its inception nearly 15 years ago, COUCH’s mission is to ensure accessibility to best quality cancer care and services for the people of Far North Queensland. The Charity’s first major project was the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre, followed by the opening of the COUCH Cancer Wellness Centre in 2019. All money raised and donated to the charity stays in the local community for local services.
3. What’s in a logo?
To mark the next phase of the COUCH charity and the opening of the COUCH Wellness Centre, the COUCH branding and logo was refreshed in 2018 to better reflect its breadth of services and update its symbolism. Designed by Tropic Studio, the refreshed branding works on a variety of levels.
Each colour in the COUCH charity logo reflects a service or project delivered by the charity – the Wellness Centre is the blue and green element of the charity’s logo, for example. While the two swirls of the logo represent an embrace – neatly encapsulated in the curve of a C for COUCH, it is also interpreted as a listening ear – something the staff at COUCH Wellness Centre are renowned for.
4. Rainforest Sanctuary
Built on land donated by the Woodward family, the site of the COUCH Wellness Centre is a surprising pocket of tranquillity in the heart of Cairns. Nestled in rainforest off Reservoir Rd, the Wellness Centre is an accessible, beautifully designed series of buildings with plenty of parking, private consult rooms, a gymnasium, conference facilities and more. The Centre is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm and all community members are encouraged to drop in and find out more.
5. A Special Place of Healing
The land on which the COUCH Wellness Centre is situated lies within the Yidinji tribal lands, spiritually connected to the Dreamtime story of Djumbunji, The Scorpion. The story explains how the land is one of healing and renewal of life; now a special place to promote wellness for those living with cancer.
6. Supportive Cancer Care Services
The array of services and support at the COUCH Wellness Centre is wide and comprehensive. The team of nurses, allied health and therapists focus on maintaining client’s health and well-being during and after treatment for cancer. Whether assistance is needed for physical, mental, practical or social needs, the team can help navigate what living with cancer means. Talk to the Wellness Centre about your individual needs.
7. Joining the Wellness Centre
The COUCH Wellness Centre supports people newly diagnosed with cancer, during treatment, post treatment and up to five years after completing treatment. For those choosing no treatment pathway, the Wellness Centre is here to help too. Family members can also join the service and benefit from group activities, exercise classes, therapies and nursing assistance. No referral is needed to join.
8. Affordable Cost of Services
When the COUCH charity was established in 2006, a guiding principle was the need to offer affordable cancer care for those who needed it. The financial burden of cancer is often significant with many ongoing expenses. At the COUCH Wellness Centre, health consultations and therapies are heavily subsidised or at no cost, plus most group classes are by donation only. This provides the very best of care at a price people can afford.
9. Qualified Staff
The COUCH Wellness Centre has been blessed with highly skilled oncology and chronic disease specialists, all working together to support the best outcomes for clients. From onsite staff to visiting practitioners offering a range of care services, the COUCH Wellness Centre team is passionate about providing the highest quality health, well-being and lifestyle support for Far North Queenslander’s diagnosed and living with cancer.
10. Locals helping Locals
Volunteers are the lifeblood of charity organisations like COUCH. Gifting their time and expertise to support the local community, COUCH volunteers are active in a myriad of roles from the volunteer Board of Directors to supporters of the Wellness Centre.
Volunteering with COUCH is all about how you can connect to the things you love doing and are passionate about. Build your skill set, meet new people, engage in your community or give back to a cause that you value: there are plenty of opportunities that match the reason why you choose to volunteer your time with COUCH.