Meredith Dennis, the inspiring head of Tweed-based charity Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat community hospice, has just been announced as a NSW Finalist in the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards.
The awards recognise the good work of everyday Australians who inspire us and make Australia great. Ms Dennis is one of four finalists chosen by the panel in the NSW Local Hero category and if successful on November 7 will go on to being in the running for Australia’s Local Hero Award announced on January 25.
Ms Dennis said she was thrilled to be a state finalist.
‘It is such an honour. I can’t wait for the presentation in November. The success of the charity has been a team effort and I am privileged to lead such a motivated group of people,’ she said.
‘We’ve all worked hard over the years to provide quality community palliative care services; home hospice support, respite and live-in hospice nursing care 24/7 at Wedgetail Retreat, loan of medical equipment to clients, Sunshine Pamper Days and educational support services.
‘We’ve gathered some wonderful testimonials over the years that just make us want to do even better. Life-limiting illness such as cancer, MND and heart disease affects hundreds of people of all ages in our community each year. I am glad that we are there to provide professional loving support and care,’ Ms Dennis said.
Liza Nagy, the charity’s project manager nominated Ms Dennis with friends and colleagues secretly providing Meredith’s impressive 18-year volunteering history to her.
The award applications are assessed for significant contribution, an inspirational role model and a demonstration of excellence within their respective fields.
‘Meredith volunteers over 60 plus hours each week. She oversees the operation of Wedgetail Retreat community hospice, the home hospice volunteer service, the TPS Hospice Op Shop, community engagement and other palliative care support services,’ Ms Nagy said.
‘She is a multi-award winning volunteer. Meredith recently opened NSW’s only adults’ community hospice which is a model that can be replicated nationally and she collaborates widely with a friendly, inclusive approach across many sectors,’ she added.
Ms Dennis said that while she was ‘truly honoured’ to be nominated, she was also also ‘mindful that because we are not government funded, fundraising is of significant importance to the charity right now.’
‘Our hospice urgently needs community and corporate support. We have a $500,000 Giddy-Up Hospice Appeal that has just been launched from now up until Christmas and I urge well-wishers to donate through our website www.wedgetailretreat.com.au.’