East Grampians Health Service recognised the work of 28 volunteers at the 13th annual EGHS Volunteer Service Recognition Awards.
EGHS has more than 150 volunteers and five auxiliaries who spend countless hours volunteering throughout the health service in both Ararat and Willaura or raising funds for valuable equipment and services.
Peter’s Project founder and Australian of the Year – Local Hero Vicki Jellie presented awards to the volunteers, which included recognition of eight volunteers for five years of service, 19 volunteers for 10 years’ service and one volunteer for 15 years’ service.
Ms Jellie gave a moving and emotional account of her journey, which resulted in the opening of the South West Regional Cancer Centre in July 2016 in Warrnambool.
Following the death of her husband Peter from oesophageal cancer at age 49 in 2008, Ms Jellie established Peter’s Project with the aim to bring vital radiotherapy treatment to cancer patients in the local region.
The project was primarily set up as a lobbyist group to be heard by both Victorian State and Federal governments.
After seven years of hard work, community and government engagement and fundraising in excess of $5m, as well as $25 million funding provided by the Federal and State Governments, the $30 million South West Regional Cancer Centre opened its doors in July 2016.
This centre now provides an integrated cancer service, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a community support centre.
Ms Jellie congratulated the volunteers who received awards and all who contributed to the health service and those who use it.
“Volunteers are critical in our Australian lifestyle,” Ms Jellie said.
“Volunteerism keeps our nation afloat. Volunteers contribute countless hours in so many areas of our community.
“What you do to provide such a generous benefit to our community in so many areas, the value is priceless. Thank you for contributing to the lives of your local community and that of our nation.
“I know that none of you are out to get recognition for what you do, it’s the passion for what you do that drives you, but please take some acknowledgement with pride, as your community are very proud and grateful to you all.”
The function was well attended with approximately 60 volunteers and staff present, and all were equally moved and inspired by Ms Jellie’s story.