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When six of her closest friends were diagnosed with cancer, Denny McCloud didn’t think it could get closer to home. And then her beloved only son Brad received a devastating cancer diagnosis.

Month after harrowing month, Denny watched Brad fade away under the effects of an extremely aggressive cancer treatment. She gave up her nursing job to support him, his partner, and their two young children, while Brad underwent 35 sessions of radiation and weekly chemotherapy.

During that incredibly painful time, Denny hosted not one, but two Australia’s Biggest Morning Teas for Cancer Council SA. She has raised $20,000 for cancer research since 2015!

The impact on Denny’s world

Sadly, Denny’s world has been touched by cancer over and over again.

First, her best friend of 60 years, Carmel, was diagnosed with cancer—then, three of her close work friends, Sallyanne, Liz and Jennine—her dear friend Maryanne (from Melbourne), and yet another friend, who, tragically, is nearing the end stage of his cancer struggle.

“My precious friend of 60 years, Carmel, and three of my dear work mates have endured the ravages of cancer… two of these lovely ladies are still fighting it with such courage. And my darling friend Maryanne flew over from Melbourne for my Biggest Morning Tea in 2020, in spite of her own diagnosis.”

But cancer hadn’t finished its devastating impact on her life yet.

The toughest challenge of all

The worst blow of all struck in October 2020, when Denny’s 48-year-old son received his own cancer diagnosis, immediately undergoing a ‘brutal’ treatment involving 35 sessions of radiation and weekly chemotherapy.

“We were devastated, not only for our son, but for our two beautiful grandchildren who are far too young to be facing the realities of cancer.”

As an ex-nurse, Denny was keen to be involved in her son’s treatment, and provide support to his beloved partner, and two young grandchildren, alongside the rest of the family.

“My son underwent months of a brutal cancer treatment which has the worst side effects, but the best outcomes. It was unbelievably devastating at the time, but thanks to this amazing treatment, there is no tumour there now—my son is doing great and he’s back at work.’

The inspiration behind it all

Every single Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Denny has hosted over the years has helped fund life-saving research into cancer treatments for people, just like her son.

And even while facing cancer in her own family, Denny continued her passionate fundraising.

“It would have been easy to say ‘NO’ to hosting Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea during this really tough time, but it’s become more important than ever that I continue to raise funds for cancer research–especially now.”

Denny’s hosting secrets revealed

Every year, Denny hosts 70+ guests at her Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea which has grown from 10 guests in the first year to an ALL-DAY event!  She doesn’t even use social media to promote it, numbers have grown simply by word of mouth, as her friends bring along their friends.

“I usually have around 70 visitors throughout the day—starting at 10am and finishing up around 7pm. You see, I cater for all my nursing friends who are shift workers. So, it’s become more like an open house than a morning tea! It’s a lot of work, but I love it…”

Every year, Denny spoils her guests with a massive ‘to-die-for’ gourmet finger food spread—with help from her sister Diane (divine sandwich platters) and best friend Carmel (delish handmade pastries)!

“No one has ever left my event feeling hungry. We have gourmet finger food going ALL day with unlimited tea and coffee. No expenses are ever taken out, so we have 100% fundraising profit.”

Denny keeps her guests fully engaged with fundraising activities like her ‘lucky door prize’ every half hour and regular auctions for high-quality gifts and plants. She has a $10 entry donation, and collects funds via an honour system, placing donation boxes around the room.

“People are incredibly generous, it’s amazing what they put in the boxes.”

At last year’s event alone, this passionate supporter raised nearly $6,000!

Without inspirational people like Denny going above and beyond to raise funds for life-saving cancer research, the discovery of ground-breaking new treatments would not be possible.

Find out more about Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and register here: