Last year past president Elizabeth Allen was recognised for her service to community health with an Order of Australia Medal, and the list of her achievements and contributions are nothing short of astounding.
Asked how she felt when she found out she was getting an OAM, Elizabeth said she “was very honoured, very Australian and very overwhelmed to think that somebody obviously felt enough to put my name forward”.
“I guess a lot of that comes from the fact I grew up not far from the Queensland border, out west, and in a family that was always community-minded. To me it is part of being Australian to help your fellow man.
“I often say that without the community and service organisations half of this country wouldn’t exist. That’s rather sad but governments can’t afford to do everything but luckily for them the community put in.”
The Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group that Elizabeth and her husband John were co-founders of in 1996 has turned 20, and since then they have organised another six support groups across NSW.
She has also been an ambassador of the Prostate Cancer Foundation since 2008 and a member of the Dubbo Health Council since 2007, including serving as chairwoman between 2010 and 2014 and has been deputy chair since 2015.
In addition, Elizabeth has been a representative on a number of hospital committees, an executive member of the Macquarie Home Stay project since 2011, a member of Quota since 1989, an Angel Flight Earth Angel and a Meals on Wheels volunteer since 1996.
And more recently, after suffering heart scares, Elizabeth helped to form a Dubbo Cardiac Support Group and saw her named as president of Heart Support Australia.
Elizabeth said her involvement in the Health Council was what she was most recognised for, and considered it one of her biggest achievements but said she was extremely proud of her work with prostate cancer survivors.
“The prostate cancer work has been a joy but it wasn’t a joy to start with. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer 20 years ago, he is a survivor,” he said.
“We helped form the Dubbo group. There were three couples. From there we have helped form five or six other support groups across the state and in 2008 I became an ambassador to promote awareness of prostate needs.”
With the health council, Elizabeth said her aim had always been to ensure Dubbo and western communities had access to fantastic services and facilities.
Congratulations to Elizabeth on her OAM!