Congratulations to our 2018 awardees! Read about the individual and team honours and all those nominated in the 2018 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards in the showcase booklet.

Outstanding Achievement by a young volunteer

Samuel Symons, Peter MacCallum Cancer Research

Award winner Samuel Symons receiving his award

Growing up with cancer and having a longstanding engagement with the healthcare system has given Samuel Symons a passion for supporting others living with cancer and to use his experience to improve care.

Samuel was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of four and had intensive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatment. In 2017, he was diagnosed with a recurring tumour and has since undergone surgery and radiation therapy.

Samuel started volunteering with the Victorian & Tasmanian Youth Cancer Advisory Board six years ago before being appointed to the Peter Mac Community Advisory Committee when he was 25.

Outstanding Achievement by a volunteer: Lifetime achievement

Dorothy Lippman, Wintringham

Award winner Dorothy Lipmann receiving her award

Dorothy Lippman has been a volunteer at the Wintringham Specialist Aged Care Centre since 31 residents moved to the new McLean House from a night shelter 30 years ago.
Caring for people over 50 who are struggling to make ends meet, Dot is sometimes the only visitor some of the residents have. Dot is the one who rides with them in the ambulance, sits with them when they’re dying, and listens when they have something to share.

Dot was nominated for the love and friendship she has given over a tremendous amount of time, which has brought people from a place of fear and isolation, back into re-joining society. 

Outstanding Achievement by a volunteer: Better Care Victoria innovation award

Enriched Environment Project, Bendigo Health

Enriched Environment Project, Bendigo Health team receiving their award

The Bendigo Health Enriched Environment volunteers engage with stroke patients, encouraging them to do simple activities in between more formal types of therapy.

Statistics taken during the Enriched Environment Project at Bendigo Health show that the sleeping time of stroke patients dropped by 10 per cent. Of the patients surveyed about the project, 84 per cent said a volunteer had assisted with activities and 80 per cent said volunteer visits were beneficial.  Helping a patient solve puzzles or to pick up items like coins or pegs, the volunteers are respectful and work in a fun way so that patients are engaged and want to do it again or to try something else.

Outstanding Achievement by a volunteer: Improving the patient experience

Biography Team, Eastern Palliative Care

Award winners from the Eastern Palliative Care Biography team receiving their award

With the largest palliative care volunteer biography program in Australia, Eastern Palliative Care volunteers have provided a willing ear and a commitment to putting to paper the life stories of dying patients.

The team of more than 100 biographers can spend more than 100 hours working on one person’s story and have been privileged to hear stories from prisoners of war, refugees, prostitutes, businesspeople, housewives, politicians, people nudging 100 years of age and people as young as 16.

Volunteers have listened to stories about mental health, family secrets, disability, survival, stellar success and desperate disappointments. They have heard funny stories and sad stories.

Outstanding Achievement by a volunteer: Improving the public healthcare

Alan Deery, Peninsula Health

Award winner Alan Deery receiving his award

Alan Deery has his own health battles but that hasn’t stopped him helping others. Despite needing dialysis treatment several times a week, Alan volunteers for two teams at Peninsula Health – the Help Desk and the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) team.

Alan’s capacity to think of others has also seen him step up whenever he see a gap, even when he’s having dialysis treatment. Alan never fails to attend his weekly AOD group, where he provides support and friendship to vulnerable and marginalised clients. Many of the clients who attend this group would have little support and community connection if it weren’t for Alan.

Outstanding Achievement by a volunteer: Supporting Diversity

Donna Socratous, Multiple Sclerosis Limited

Award winner Donna Socratous receiving her award

Although living with the challenges of multiple sclerosis herself, Donna Socratous has been helping other MS sufferers, especially those struggling with language and cultural barriers, for more than a decade. Donna facilitates the MS Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Peer Support Group (which she helped to establish) and the Footscray Peer Support Group for people and families living with MS.

Donna also offers phone support to people newly diagnosed, providing enormous reassurance and support to those who are often very fearful of the future and confused due to language and cultural barriers. This greatly reduces their isolation and increases their ability to live with MS.

2018 Honour Roll Inductee

Brian Cantlon, St John Ambulance Victoria

Brian Cantlon inducted onto the honor roll