This month we’d like to congratulate one of our SCCA community members on a well-deserved accolade. Ruth Cooper was named a “Volunteer of the Year” in the Mid North Coast Local Health District Health Innovation Awards 2019.
In 1995 Ruth was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was the catalyst for her becoming involved in improving the lot of others diagnosed with the disease. “ I felt it was God’s plan that I help others going through the same thing that I did” she says.
In 1996 she founded the support
group which became known as the
Breast Cancer Buddies (BCB). Over 250 women gained support through the group meetings and personal chats during the 20 years that she facilitated the group.
Ruth was excited when she and others helped achieve the appointment of Lee Millard as the first Breast Care Nurse in the Coffs Harbour hospital in 2001. This led to training as a volunteer with the Breast
Cancer Peer Support Group. Ruth has given support to many women and their partners through home and hospital visits, phone calls and coffee chats, making
the most of the bi-monthly meetings of
volunteers to network and stay up to date with treatments.
It was this group who nominated Ruth for the award, which she so clearly deserves!
“It’s mind blowing” says Ruth. “I’ve never had a trophy before. It’s very special, and I appreciate the acknowledgement and the fact that my peers saw fit to nominate me. However you don’t do it for the awards. I remember visiting a woman in Baringa who had a lot of questions. We spent some time talking, and when I was about to leave I asked her one more time if she had any more questions. “Well,” she said “You’ve answered the main one. You’ve made it through, and you are well, so I know I can do it too.” That still excites me. That is why I do it.”