Chris Crestani served for 40 years as the Chief Radiation Therapist at St. Vincent’s hospital, in Sydney. He managed the radiation therapy treatments of countess patients affected by cancer. Unfortunately, Chris himself was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in 2005 and passed from it the following year.
Throughout his long career Chris had been an advocate for young professionals and encouraged them to further their learning, improving their knowledge and skills. He left a legacy of kindness, dedication, and commitment to cancer patients.
As a Registered Nurse and a recipient of a scholarship herself, early in her career, Yvonne shares these commitments to service and a belief in the power of education. It is these beliefs and sadly a personal understanding of the affect cancer has on everyone it touches that led to the founding of the scholarship programme in 2007, in memory of Chris.
Yvonne chose to use the, today well known, Crestani Family Crest to honour the family and the Mission “Better Outcomes for Cancer Patients”.
Yvonne began organising the first of many Garden Parties at her home, designed to increase awareness of cancer and to raise funds for cancer research and further education of Radiation Therapists.
The Garden Parties became part of the Central Coast Social Calendar and she and a small group of dedicated Volunteers ensured all of money raised was directed to Education and Research Scholarships for Radiation Therapists, first at Royal North Shore Hospital and later with the opening of the new Radiotherapy Department at Gosford Hospital, the Central Coast Cancer Centre.
In 2016 the Scholarship Program was extended to include Physicists, Nurses, and other allied personnel. In 2017 with the establishment of a new Partnership with the University of Newcastle – School of Health Sciences (Radiation Therapy), the programme was expanded to include Radiation Therapy students. In 2022 the programme grew to include medical students and in 2023 the programme will again expand, offering a Scholarship to nursing students. In addition, planning is underway to support research initiatives at the Central Coast Research Institute.
Thanks to its Donors, Supporters and Volunteers and in collaboration with its Partners, Crestani Scholarships has awarded over fifty Scholarships since 2008.
Your continued support and contribution to Crestani Scholarships assists the advancement of education and research in the treatment of cancer, contributing to better outcomes for cancer patients.
- 2007: Royal North Shore Hospital
- 2012: Central Coast Cancer Centre – Gosford Hospital
- 2017: University of Newcastle – School of Health Sciences (Radiation Therapy)
- 2021: Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation (ASMIRT)
- 2022: University of Newcastle – School of Medicine
- 2022: Mid North Coast Cancer Institute (MNCCI) – Port Macquarie
- 2023: University of Newcastle – School of Nursing and Midwifery
- 2023: Mid North Coast Cancer Institute (MNCCI) – Coffs Harbour
Video: the Crestani Scholarships story
[0:00:04] Trying to be a wife and a carer at the same time, that imprints on your emotions for a long time. I’m Yvonne Crestani. I was the recipient of a nursing scholarship back in 1969 and this is one way for me to pay back if you like.
[0:00:27] My husband was the chief radiotherapist at St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney. I was married to him for 48 years and I’m a registered nurse. Even though my husband worked treating patients cancer patients for 40 years, he unfortunately died of cancer himself. I nursed him at home. We did everything we could. He had surgery and radiation chemotherapy he had every part of treatment that was available at the time and he died within 10 months of his diagnosis.
[0:01:06] Experiencing what it’s like to nurse someone even though in our case it was for a fairly short time, I know the carers go through a terrible terrible ordeal. So if I can do something to help that situation for other people that would be a tremendous bonus. It’s quite an honour to work for a group of people that have such dedication to their work and who work continuously to make things better for cancer patients.
[0:01:44] My husband was an advocate for people in a postgraduate situation to continue their studies and try and improve their knowledge and their skills. So
I knew that that was his mission. So I tried to just follow that. In early days I started with a garden party in my garden at Wamberal and raised a significant amount of money and donated it to further education for radiotherapists.
[0:02:21] Initially it was to be a one-off event which I then donated to Royal North Shore hospital where my husband was treated. But then in 2010 the Central Coast Cancer Centre opened and I was advised that they needed funding for further education for their graduates and in consultation with the professors at Royal North Shore and the Central Coast Cancer Centre we agreed to transfer the funds to the Central Coast.
[0:02:53] People in the community were enjoying the functions and they wanted more and more so I decided to go on. I just enlisted a few friends to help me do some more fundraising and we established a group of volunteers. Mostly in the initial stages the volunteers were senior people retired, people just like me and we did our best with the sorts of skills that we had which were just helping with afternoon tea and things like that.
[0:03:25] As the years progressed, we had to bring in people with computer skills, photography, videography and the application for grants from bodies that were making funding more possible. So the application is quite sophisticated and we need people to be able to do that. We also need people persons because we’re dealing with medical staff. We’re dealing with sick people so we do need people that have the empathy to talk to the people that we’re involved with, particularly cancer patients.
[0:04:15] When we raise funds to support higher education for people and treat cancer patients we’re very serious about that. But you can see that our volunteers will become a family and we all have a great time and thanks for you we enjoy ourselves. Thank you.
Some enchanted evening
Someone may be laughing
You may hear her laughing across a crowded room
And night after night
As strange as it seems
The sound of her laughter
Will sing in your dreams
[0:05:51] We welcome you to the Crestani Scholarships in radiotherapy fifth annual twilight soiree
[0:06:20] Welcome everybody, it’s lovely to see you all here today and just thank you for your generosity too from coming along and supporting Yvonne and the volunteers with the Crestani Scholarships
[0:07:06] Congratulations Yvonne Crestani. You are our Central Coast citizen of the year for 2019. It was wonderful to hear of you of being awarded this honour by Central Coast Council at the Australia Day awards and as somebody who’s been a tireless worker in our community you certainly have made a significant difference by raising money for scholarships in radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients here on the Central Coast.
[0:07:33] Give him a great big warm welcome to the stage. Lucky Starr.
[0:07:53] Love is in the air
When the day is nearly done
And I don’t know if you’re an illusion
I don’t know if I see it true
But you’re something that i must believe
I said love is in the air
[0:08:39] Thanks folks, thank you for being a beautiful audience.
[0:08:43] Cancer’s no longer a death sentence. I’m not getting any younger and there are so many developments happening in cancer treatment. It would be a shame if this program died when I did so we do need to look forward to younger people to take up my husband’s legacy and I’m sure my husband Chris would be very proud to know that it continued on.