TAKING A POSITION: Nerida Dean has joined the Cancer Council Board of NSW.
TAKING A POSITION: Nerida Dean has joined the Cancer Council Board of NSW.

Community spirit helps land role with Cancer Council

NERIDA Dean is a force of nature, a whirlwind of community spirit, determination and passion - so it's no surprise that Cancer Council NSW has just appointed her to their board.

The host of numerous Biggest Morning Tea and Daffodil fundraising events, Nerida, 64, is one of two regional representatives on the state board.

Born in Casino, growing up in Brunswick and now living in Kingscliff (though also spending a lot of time with her grand children at Safety Beach), she is also president of the Mullumbimby Rotary Club (like her brother and father before her) and has just stood down from the Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce to concentrate on her new role.

A teacher for most of her working life, Nerida ended up in Queenbeyan where she raised her family, moving back up to be close to her mother and then son's when she retired

"I've been doing work in the Northern Rivers area for the Cancer Council since I arrived here in 2012," Nerida said explaining how she got involved with the organization.

"One of the Rotarians at the Mullumbimby Club got up at a meeting and said we need people sell Daffodils at Bilinudgel and I said I'd do it. Then the ladies that run a cancer council group in Mullumbimby invited me along to their Christmas event to say thank you to people who has supported them over the years and the young woman from the Cancer Council said they were doing a survey to find out who sells cigarettes and whether they have licences and whether they are breaking the law or not. When no one else put their hand up to do it, I volunteered.

"Then I got a phonecall in early 2013 to say would you like to come to a meeting in Lismore where they are going to give feedback on the outcome of that campaign. From there I was invited into CanAct- the advocacy part of the NSW Cancer Council and that's where they put campaigns together to put to the politicians before elections. We've now just started our fourth campaign called Saving Life 2019."

Her role as a volunteer has been varied and interesting including being trained to be the Parliamentary Liason person for the Cancer Council working with the local member in the Tweed electorate.

"Now I've been elected to the Council Board," she explained.

"The Cancer Council has a requirement in their constitution that two members of their board must primarily reside in rural and regional Australia and one of the members of the board Dr Joe Mcgirr, who I knew from Queenbeyan, had to resign because he won the State seat of Wagga as an Independent."

Nerida, who lost an aunt to breast cancer, is passionate about her new role which she believes is another opportunity for her to "show my support for the cause and make a difference to the lives of those suffering from this insidious disease."

"The reason why I do it is because the Cancer Council is the only one of all the cancer organisatons that does proactive preventative education, that is in school's supporting preventative education, healthy eating, that liaise with Governments," she explained.

"We get told time and time again by Parliamentarians that we are probably the best at liaising, that we don't tell them how to do their job but we go to them with very valuable things that need changing for the people that suffer from cancer.

"Over the years we've had some big wins on the board.