For nearly 30 years Heather Eleveld has been volunteering her time to help women living with cancer to face the disease with confidence.
She was one of the founders of Launceston’s Look Good Feel Better program, which aims to manage the appearance-related side-effects caused by treatment.
Mrs Eleveld has been a driving force behind the program, as a facilitator predominantly before she took a step back and is now a helper in the city’s program for more than 27 years.
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She also took the program to Burnie and La Trobe in recent years, running three workshops a year in both prior to COVID-19.
Mrs Eleveld said the workshops did more than provide cosmetics and tips, they allowed the attendees to bond and meet someone in a similar situation to themselves.
“It started in Australia 30 years ago… as cosmetic companies wanted to do something for ladies who had been diagnosed with cancer and when they lose their hair and their eyebrows. So they give a gift to each lady who registers, and they come to a workshop,” she said.
“Some of have to have chemo or radiation and after it can make some people very, very, unwell, but they come to us and we show them how they can make themselves feel better within themselves.”
She said over the years there had been some wonderful stories.
“I reckon I’ll met about 3000 people over the years.
“I remember once there was a beautiful woman in Launceston and she had lost her hair and she had very long blonde hair and she modelled [a wig] or us,” Mrs Eleveld said.
“She sent us a letter afterwards and her children said ‘we’ve got our mummy back’, because they had.”
She was one of nine recipients recognised in this year’s City of Launceston council’s Volunteer Recognition Awards.
The event is normally held during National Volunteer Week in May, but had to be delayed due to the pandemic.
The other recipients, who contributed numerous hours to various organisations and appeals, were:
- Jill Waters for her work in arts, culture, heritage, community, health and education
- David Charles Brice for his work in sport and recreation
- Rob Foggo for his work in arts, culture and heritage
- Mary Webb for her work in sport and recreation
- Holly Corbett for her work in community, health and education
- Tony Wilks for his work in community, health and education
- Val Clarke for her work in arts, culture and heritage
- Connie Booth for her work in arts, culture and heritage
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