Meet Catherine: Unique Nowra local who believes in a cancer free future
By Cancer Council NSW
Catherine Bryant describes herself as a modest person. But in the Cancer Council community in Nowra, Catherine is something of a local identity.
Catherine played an instrumental role in organising Nowra’s Relay For Life from 2004 until its final year in 2023, raising over $3 million in this time.
Since finishing up with Relay For Life, Catherine let us know that she has left a gift in her will to Cancer Council.
We want to take this opportunity to thank and recognise Catherine for her incredible generosity over the years. Catherine’s story shows the power of standing up for something you believe in and creating community around you.
The joy of community and volunteering
Catherine’s passion for supporting her community is inspirational. Throughout her life, she has volunteered in varying roles growing up as part of Girl Guides, Youth Group and Rotaract. And has been involved in volunteering with Little Athletics, Girl Guides and the Church Group to name a few before she joined the organising committee for Nowra Relay For Life over 20 years ago.
“It is a privilege and honour to be asked to share my story now, as I am just an average individual that has been brought up to have values and respect to help others,” Catherine reflects.
As a Relay committee member, Catherine’s passion project was leading the Survivors and Carers Morning Tea. Catherine managed details like writing individual invitations to ensure that personal touch, ensuring the sashes for participants were pressed and the bagging of Hope Ceremony sandbags with the help and support of her family and friends.
She often comments about how special it was to see people affected by cancer survive and attend Relay year after year and hear their remarkable stories.
“It is that real connection you develop with people. Even after the Relay event, I would bump into people in the community who were interested to stay in touch and find out more ways to get involved,” Catherine said.
What drives Catherine to support Cancer Council
Catherine has been deeply impacted by cancer. Her father died when she was only 18, and her brother recently died from oesophegeal cancer as well.
Catherine’s husband, Les, also had his own cancer journey, diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000. Thanks to advances in research and more services in Shoalhaven, Les has since gone through another treatment at the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre that wasn’t available in 2000.
But the reason why Catherine has volunteered and donated so much over the years is because she can see how things have improved.
“Volunteering for over 20 years, I have witnessed the changes in survival rates across most areas,” Catherine says. I have seen the way Cancer Council has improved the quality of life of those going through cancer, by working with health professionals to support people affected by cancer, their family and friends”.
Why Catherine has included Cancer Council in her will
After 20 years volunteering at Relay For Life, Catherine has now included a gift in her will to Cancer Council.
“I believe that Cancer Council has a vision, mission and strategy to support communities affected by cancer”, Catherine says.
Her message for other people considering leaving a gift in their will to charity is that it all counts. “A gift does not need to be large as, collectively, we can make a difference”.
We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank Catherine for everything she has done to help tackle cancer. Catherine, we are incredibly lucky, grateful and proud to have you in our community and now one of our Daffodil Circle members, thank you.