Cancer survivor wins top award
IT'S been seven years since cancer support volunteer Pauline Plant began her own battle with breast cancer.
The Yamba grandmother underwent treatment and spent five years in remission before discovering a year ago the cancer had spread to her bones.
She is still being treated for that illness, but yesterday Mrs Plant was glowing with happiness as she accepted her Australia Day award as 2009's Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year.
Wiping back tears, the 69-year-old cut a small figure on stage at the Grafton Community Centre, but afterwards showed the tenacious spirit that has driven her community work.
“Life has to go on,” she said.
“Life's too short to sit in the corner and feel sorry for yourself, so I think “good I've got another day” and feel good about it. And if I can help other people, then that's what I do.”
What is extraordinary about Mrs Plant is what she has done to relieve the suffering of other people going through cancer.
While recovering from treatment in 2003, she established the Yamba Breast Cancer Support Group, later extending it to include all forms of cancer.
Since then Mrs Plant and her group have been a pillar of support to countless people. Projects she organised included the making of underarm cushions for woman recovering from breast cancer surgery and turbans for those undergoing chemotherapy.
In 2006, she developed and raised funding for the Breast Cancer Awareness Program, aiming to raise awareness of breast cancer in the community.
Mrs Plant has since taken the program to high schools and women's groups throughout the Clarence Valley.
In spite of her recent illness, Mrs Plant continues to collect bags of roadside and beach rubbish on her daily walk through Yamba, and recently organised the knitting of hundreds of vests and booties for premature babies.
Mrs Plant said she had not expected to receive the award and was “very excited” to win, while her husband Tony said he was “very proud” of his wife and her achievements.
Citizen of the Year
Young Citizen of the Year
Youth Sports Achievement
Maclean Lower Clarence Hospital Auxiliary
Creative, Visual and Performing Arts
Sister Anne Gallagher
Youth Creative, Visual and Performing Arts