Father and Daughter Celebrated at Minister of Health Volunteer Awards
For the first time, a Father and Daughter pair have been recognised at the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards. Eilish Wilkes was announced as winner of the Minister of Health Youth Volunteer Award for Outstanding Achievement, while her Dad Pat Wilkes was runner-up for the Long Service Award Category.
Eilish’s nomination – a joint submission from Child Cancer Foundation and CanTeen – acknowledged Eilish’s commitment to bring change for future cancer patients, but also her passion to improve all health services to make things better for people.
Child Cancer Foundation Chief Executive Robyn Kiddle, says Eilish is a constant source of inspiration, as she rises above significant challenges brought on by her childhood cancer diagnosis at the age of two.
“She is a talented writer and a gifted speaker and has not let her diagnosis define her. In fact she uses it to bring awareness to the condition and to inspire others to professional and personal success,” says Robyn. “The blankets that Eilish makes for our organisation are much loved by families who receive them – particularly knowing they have been made by someone who has gone through the same journey they are embarking on.”
Eilish’s father, Pat, was recognised for his work with Child Cancer Foundation over 16 years, after he first began volunteering in 2001 following Eilish’s cancer diagnosis. He joined the local branch (a local volunteer group dedicated to providing social support to families impacted by cancer) in 2005 – first as a member, then branch chair and finally as regional representative, a role that gave him a seat on the National Board in 2009. Because of his personal experience, Pat is considered the voice of parents at the Board table.
“Pat is a long term respected and treasured volunteer within Child Cancer Foundation, he epitomises the culture and values of our organisation,” says Robyn. “It is even more special when you take into consideration the challenges he and his family have faced, and continue to face, with a childhood cancer diagnosis that they live with every day,” Robyn adds.
“Child Cancer Foundation deeply value and respect Pat and Eilish’s contribution to our cause, and congratulate them both on their success in the Minister of Health Awards for 2017.”
The work Child Cancer Foundation does would not be possible without people like the Wilkes family, who do so much to ensure families on the child cancer journey feel supported in their community. To all of volunteers nationwide who give so much – thank you.