My story came about in July 2012 when my father ‘Paddy’ was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. After travelling to and from Brisbane to Canberra visiting my dad to comfort him, giving him words of strength, courage, and positivity, one visit made me realise it was time to come home. My family and I moved in June 2013, two weeks later my dad passed away.
My dad ‘Paddy’ was a familiar face around Canberra, keeping Canberra clean and tidy, and on the 26th June 2013 ,at his funeral, I learnt of great things about him that I didn’t know. In 2008 my dad and his TAMS colleagues received a letter from the Chief Minister Mr Jon Stanhope for their contribution and success in putting up and pulling down over 830 flags around Canberra for the Canberra leg of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay. This earned my dad a special certificate of appreciation from the Government, something he was very proud of. When I see, the flags flying around in Canberra now, I look at them differently.
I volunteered for Daffodil Day at Gungahlin the year after my dad passed, and to hear of sadder news that a dearest Auntie, whom to this day is held in the highest regard in her nursing career, was diagnosed with a rare cancer. My auntie passed in June 2015. At the Christmas lunch in 2015 for all volunteers, I was deeply moved by the CEO’s words ‘that we are here because in some way or another we’ve all been touched by Cancer’.
I enjoy being a volunteer for Daffodil Day each year, and I always look forward to meeting different people and listening to their stories is quite a heart-felt experience. Knowing you’re not alone gives me great comfort that we share something in common.
I feel so proud and honoured, and it is an absolute joy to lend a helping hand for one or two days a week, whatever the task may be, for the Cancer Council ACT team. They are dedicated to their work and a happy bunch to be around with. It was also a privilege to be invited to the Girls Night In Movie night, after helping to fill over 500 bags of goodies!
With so many people I know personally that have fallen to cancer, two Aunties, my brother in-law’s mum, dear friends of my mother-in-law, and, most importantly, my husband had his own cancer scare that really shook me and our family, I feel the need to volunteer and that I am giving back to the community and encouraging the community spirit in fighting for a cure for cancer.