February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and 2021 marks 20 years of improving support and awareness. Sue Radford is a Hospice Volunteer and treasurer for Hospice Care Association of North West Tasmania Inc, and co-founder of Flickering Memories High Tea, which fundraises for ovarian and breast cancer.
Hospice Volunteers assist people through the progression of their life-limiting illness, often in the comfort of their own home. While skilled professional staff care for terminally ill patients, Hospice Volunteers provide support and companionship to both clients and their families.
It was after her mother passed from ovarian cancer in 2016 that Sue first started volunteering for Hospice Care. “After she was diagnosed Mum lived for 20 months, and we cared for her 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Sue. “She was never left alone the whole 20 months.”
There had always been a birthday party for Sue’s mother, so on what would have been her 80th birthday, the first Flickering Memories High Tea was held. Flickering Memories has now been running for seven years with an average attendance of 260 people annually. Even during COVID-19 they raised $22,000!
Sue also volunteers by helping put together and donate bags of goods to cancer clinics for patients undergoing treatment. These bags include useful items such as blankets, colouring in supplies, water bottles, and food or petrol vouchers. Since 2017 over 150 of these bags have been donated to cancer patients. When asked if being a Hospice Volunteer is difficult, Sue says it is a privilege being able to help somebody when they’ve got a life-limiting illness. “Just being able to sit with them in their last days… I find it a privilege that they can open their heart and home to someone they can trust.”