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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 18

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VOLUNTEERING DAWN BURKE,

VOLUNTEERING DAWN BURKE, MSWA COORDINATOR VOLUNTEERS ‘Give a little, change a lot’ Hello everyone, and what a punchy statement with such a profound impact on others and their lives. Welcome to our winter edition of the Bulletin. As with the above statement, and the cooler weather slowly descending upon us, we need something that packs in the heat in a short time frame. I love the cooler weather and am looking forward to wearing my trackie dacks and ugg boots. What about you? These six words, ‘give a little, change a lot’, was this year’s theme for National Volunteers Week. Wow! What an impact it makes with only a few words. I am a true believer in recognising all volunteers no matter how little time they give, as it makes a huge difference to many. This, above all else, is what volunteering is about, especially for me at MSWA. When we give of ourselves, we receive so much more in return and I am truly thankful and proud to be part of the MSWA volunteering family. I thank you all for what you do, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Let’s take a step back and look over the last few months. After a bit of banging here and some drilling there, phase one of Wilson’s refurbishments has been completed and some staff and volunteers are now settled into their ‘new homes’. By the time this reaches you all, phase two will be completed and the final phase three will be well and truly under way. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being patient while the construction has been going on. It makes life so much easier when we can adapt and change, especially in the short term, to reach the bigger picture. As Sue Shapland, General Manager Member Services, keeps saying, “Keep your eyes on the prize”. And what a prize the end result will be. Thank you again for your flexibility and patience and before long all the upheaval will seem like a distant memory. I would like to throw out a huge thank you to volunteer Lesley Pitt, who has been hands on with Outreach facility since it moved offsite for the refurbishments. Lesley has packed and carted all the card making materials to and from her home each week for Members to use, via her gopher and trolley buggy!! Without Lesley, the group would have had no supplies! She is also always the first person on site ready to help unpack on Tuesday, trolley at the ready. Thank you, Lesley, this has helped in the transition for our Members and volunteers who attend the card making group. Your efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. A Carers Retreat was held late April on Rottnest Island and again I was privileged to be able to attend with Sumit the Camp Coordinator. The weather held off for a day here and there, the seagulls were in full form nicking food from the unsuspecting tourists and the carers had a lovely and welldeserved break. It is always lovely to see the regular carers, and lovely to meet new ones. We had three new carers attend this camp, which was awesome. The Sunrise weather team from Channel 7 were on the island and I went down to watch and was asked to join the group of families and students to beef up the group numbers. It was a fantastic morning and some of you may have seen me on the TV. I’m a bit of a celebrity now. Did you know there are seven students attending the primary school on Rottnest island? Again, our camp extraordinaire volunteer, Rosalind attended and has helped us at many camps in a volunteer capacity. We always welcome an extra pair of hands, especially with our Members’ camps. If any of you are interested in attending give me a call and we can discuss it further. It was National Volunteers Week Monday, 21 May until Sunday, 27 May. This was a busy week for me, especially with the lead up to our Volunteer Lunches. We hold two lunches during this week, one in Perth and one in Bunbury. It is always lovely to come together, meet each other, have a laugh and a chat and enjoy some beautiful food. We changed venues this year for the Perth Luncheon, and booked into the Royal Perth Golf Club in South Perth. As always there was scrumptious food, a lovely view looking over the well-manicured golf grounds, but above all else it was fantastic company with a beautiful ambiance. I love listening to the hum of conversation happening around the place, with the volunteers and staff coming together and sharing stories and experiences. We can all learn so much from each other, never underestimate someone’s story or journey. Bunbury’s Volunteer Luncheon was held at Backbeach Café again. You can’t get any nicer than an ocean view. This luncheon is such a relaxed and casual atmosphere with great company. Country folk somehow seem a bit more laid back in everything that they do. This was our biggest group in attendance and a great time was had by all with plenty of food to go around. With every luncheon we issue Certificates of Appreciation. These awards are handed out to those who have been nominated by their supervisors or peers for various reasons. Congratulations to all recipients of this award for 2018, Lesley Pitt, Stephen Witherow, Callum Begg, John Griffith, Sylvia Griffith, Joan Crossman, Maria Mades, Fay Simmons, Dave Savy, QBE, Julie King, Vanessa Vergeer, Lynda Whitton, Lynette Lynch, Brett Johns, Marie Harris, John Bartlett, Ian Pittick, Yvette Cocivera. I would like to make special mention to a dynamic couple, John and Sylvia Griffith, who are very quiet achievers and go between our facilities at Beechboro Lodge, Fern River and the Bunbury Hub, keeping the gardens in check. They go in and come out in stealth mode, and we appreciate the distances they are travelling to help maintain our gardens. Of course, our Wilson gardens have been maintained to a high standard for more than 19 years by our Volunteer John Robertson. Thank you, John, you do an amazing job. You will always see John at Wilson Centre, rain, hail or shine. This year we had two representatives from QBE attend the volunteer luncheon and our CEO Marcus Stafford presented them with a certificate. QBE give us approximately 10 volunteers every year to set up for our Members, Volunteers and Staff Christmas Party. Without their assistance, this event wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does. Thankyou QBE, your team is amazing. The representatives on the day said how much their team enjoys coming along each year and it’s never hard making up the team numbers! One more thank you is for our staff member, Justine Webb, who has been coming into Wilson on a Thursday morning and picking up two of our volunteers and taking them to the Wilson Outreach Group’s temporary home in Como. This has been a great help to the volunteers who cannot make their way to the alternative venue. Your time to assist them is much appreciated. World MS Day was celebrated on Wednesday, 30 May. It was great that some of our regular Member Services Volunteers were able to get out into the community and help the events team raise awareness and funds. Your time and effort is much appreciated. I want to send out a big warm welcome to the new volunteers that have joined our team. We are privileged to have you come and assist our Members and the staff, and as I previously wrote, ‘give a little, change a lot’. Whether you are here for a long time or a short time, you are appreciated and valued. Until next time. Dawn THAT’S LIFE WITH NARELLE NARELLE TAYLOR, MSWA MEMBER Being a resident in this aged care facility for as long as I have been, has made me a lot wiser about the process of ageing and a bit smarter about how not to upset people around me who are also ageing. I have since moderated my behaviour so that I can pour oil on these sometimes troubled waters around here. At times Dementia and Alzheimer have had a noticeable influence on my fellow residents’ behaviour, and from experience I am now able to tell when those ‘conditions’ are likely to influence the flow of events. Some two years ago, before I learned not to ask a person “How are you,” particularly a person who is not likely to pleasantly reply, I had thought Deborah (not her real name), one morning looked less than jubilant when she came to the breakfast table. Unwisely, I said “Good morning, Deborah. How are you?” Through the dark clouds that now surrounded her, she answered, “Oh, I’m very low. Everything is such an effort for me. I’m 83 years old. I’ve had a good innings. I don’t want to go on any more. I just don’t want to wake up any more. I want to sleep forever,” she moaned. I quipped “Oh right. Can I have your jumpers?” The dark clouds dissipated and she burst into loud laughter. All the diners at the breakfast table erupted into a riot of laughter. Deborah regained her disposition and returned to normal. She was a sensible sweet lady who resumed her place at the table with grace, elegance and all of us felt comfortable. There was never a reference made to her depressive moment. Two years later Deborah passed away. Then just last week, her daughter came to me with a cardboard box of Deborah’s lovely hand-knitted jumpers and said to me, “Mum told me your joke, which we both thought was so funny, and I’ve gathered a selection of her jumpers for you to have.” I was touched. I thanked her and suggested that other residents of this facility might be pleased to have one each too, and that they could be distributed by the ‘office’. Deborah’s daughter agreed, and now each of us have genuinely lovely mementos. 30 | MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 | 31

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