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Donated library supporting cancer patients

Sarah Woodroofe (left) and Gabrielle O’Connell proudly displaying the donated book library

The Cancer Society North Canterbury centre (NCCS) has received just over 100 books to make a library that is specifically designed to support people with cancer, their carers, and whānau.

The centre, which supports people north of the Waimakariri to Kaikōura, is in the process of promoting the library, so this resource is accessible to those in rural or isolated communities.

Proceeds of money raised by C.A.R.E.S charitable trust has been utilised to create a book library to support patients, carers, and whānau, during and after cancer treatment.

The range of books covers integrative options, holistic health and wellbeing, mental health, autobiographies, nutrition, sex, grief, men’s books, children’s books, and all types of cancers.

The books were mainly sourced locally from Emma’s bookshop in Oxford and were largely chosen by the director of the charity Kylie Tolman. There is also significant New Zealand content.

The book library caters to a wide range of reading abilities and age levels.

The vision is to provide people with information and resources around resilience, grief, inspiration, wisdom, and what to expect after treatment.

Gabrielle O’Connell, coordinator of the North Canterbury Centre, says that,

We don’t give advice around treatment so it’s great to have a range of material to complement a wide range of values and beliefs.”


Sarah Woodroofe, who is a supportive carer at the centre, says that the books have been an invaluable learning tool for them as supporters, as well as for their patients.

“A lot of people have been asking about complementary medicines, so I have been reading up on this topic for my own benefit and on the job learning,” says Sarah.

“It’s important to have resources to provide people with to cover the wide range of options available out there,” says Gabrielle.

Gabrielle also goes on to say that she has been surprised by which books people are choosing to read.

“Books are seemingly resonating with people that you wouldn’t typically expect to,” says Gabrielle, “and that is just great!”

She goes on to explain that this is the very reason why it is so important to provide a variety of resources. You cannot expect to know what it is that people need at any given time.

Travelling Library

Gabrielle and Sarah support a large geographical area which includes Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Oxford and the Hurunui.

It’s incredibly important for people to be able to access information who are in rural or isolated communities,” says Gabrielle.


“I drive across the district to help coordinate support groups, classes and get-togethers and now I can pack some books into the trunk of my car and offer the resource that way!”

Opening Day

The NCCS’s new library is having an official open day on Thursday 9th September at 1:30pm at the Rangiora centre.

This coincides with the Cancer Rehabilitation Awareness Week which is from the 6th to the 12th of September.

The day is open to the public and will include information on the story behind the library, who can use the library and how people can borrow the books.

There will also be specialist information services from the local library and bookshops.

They are also hoping to be able to offer some book reviews.

The NCCS asks people planning to attend to let them know ahead.

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For further information:

Please call the NCCS on 021 904 907 or visit


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