I was born in Holland and migrated with you family in 1952 spending my informative years Cardiff South a suburb in Newcastle .Like many of my friends I decided nursing would be my chosen profession. I did my General and Midwifery at Royal Newcastle Hospital but decided that procedural work would be my vocation as Operating Theatre Nursing is diverse and has many advantages.
Marriage and babies soon followed but so become bored and needed to work so gained employment at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital in 1974 and at that stage was still in its infancy .There were many challenges as this small private hospital was very pro active with many new surgical procedures being introduced into the surgical arena. I was the Nurse Unit Manager and active into introducing new specialities
Here I met Dr Bill Walker plastic reconstructive surgeon who invited me travel to the third world to help change the lives of those living in poor and impoverish communities where little or no healthcare was available.
I soon realised what a privileged life I had. I was invited to join Rotary as the first female member of the rotary Club of Hamilton and with the backing of Rotary I knew that anything is possible if you stay focused... My New husband David a Rotarian supported me with all my projects. David a retired builder and I were asked to go to Papua New Guinea on an Aus Aid project and this is where we found a 21 year old girl who was badly burnt 18 months previously with no treatment available. On our return to Australia we fund raised and brought her to Sydney for treatment. She now leads a normal life is an ambassador for the Peter Hughes Burns Foundation and councils burn survivors in Port Moresby .For this I was rewarded with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2005.
In the last 8 years in have been a volunteer on 20 overseas projects mainly involving working with surgical teams repairing Cleft lips and Palates in Cambodia Egypt Peru Ethiopia India China and Pacific Islands.
I have also enjoyed been part of Rotary building programs with my husband where I branch off to do immunisations, women’s health and general activities.
I believe we all have the capability of making a difference to the lives of people less fortunate then ourselves in our community and the emerging countries overseas. I hope that I will be able to carry on my work as volunteer and have the support to care for my husband who now has Alzheimers.
I am humbled and honoured to have been awarded Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year 2009, New South Wales Senior Australia of the Year 2010 and Order of Australia Medal 2010.