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Bendigo Bank Backs Blue Towels Campaign for Breast Cancer

11 October 2018 |Community
Bendigo Bank branches across Victoria will seek to raise $36,000 during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month to help those diagnosed with breast cancer spend restorative time away with their loved ones at no cost.

The proceeds raised through the sale of recycled cotton Little Blue Towels will be provided to The OTIS Foundation, a Bendigo-based charity that offers more than 3,500 nights of retreat accommodation free of charge every year to guests and their families.

The Little Blue Towels, which are normally discarded after a single use, are collected from hospitals in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT after they have been used to dry sterilised hands. Instead of going to waste, they are laundered and packaged by employment enterprises for people with disability in Echuca, Ballarat and Kew.

Lint free, absorbent and perfect for cleaning, camping or fishing, the recycled towels can be purchased from any Bendigo Bank branch across regional and metropolitan Victoria during October, with proceeds going to The OTIS Foundation.

All 226 Victorian Bendigo Bank and Community Bank® branches are participating in the fundraiser. Packs of five towels are available for $7.

"Since 2008, we have gifted almost $1.2 million in funds to The OTIS Foundation as its principal partner, helping cover administrative and operational costs. This ensures the highest percentage possible of all donations goes directly towards providing women diagnosed with breast cancer the opportunity to stay at an OTIS Foundation retreat. We all know someone who has battled breast cancer, so we encourage everyone in Victoria to call into a Bendigo Bank branch and buy a packet of Little Blue Towels," said Justine Minne, State Manager for Regional Victoria, Bendigo Bank.

10 months after her own breast cancer diagnosis in November 2015, Sandra Davey was a guest at an OTIS Foundation retreat in 2016. Sandra describes her stay as a place of light in a dark situation.

"Following my surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, I had the wonderful gift from the OTIS Foundation of a no cost holiday break in a small cottage overlooking the Murray River with the snow-capped Mt Kosciusko in the background. It was a welcome relief from the dark realities of cancer, chemotherapy and surgeries. The guest book was full of heart-warming thanks from other guests to OTIS Foundation and owners of the cottage who also experienced a memorable time away with family, some being the last time together," said Davey.

"We are delighted with Bendigo Bank’s ongoing support and the increased exposure through the Bank’s vast state-wide network during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to help raise funds for such an important cause,” said Dick Phillips, Project Coordinator, Little Blue Towels.

"The OTIS Foundation is the legacy of Judy Burley who throughout her own battle with breast cancer, found comfort in natural settings, including her rural Victorian property. Judy’s vision was to provide a sanctuary to others facing similar challenges, so they could also benefit from the nurturing, comforting and restorative power of nature while living with serious illness. The Little Blue Towels initiative, backed by Bendigo Bank, helps The OTIS Foundation to continue its important work and expand the number of retreats it offers," said Lisa Farrar, interim CEO, The OTIS Foundation.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for Australian women, with almost 50 new diagnoses every day – accounting for almost a third of all cancers in women.

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