In light of International Women’s Day 2018 yesterday I want to commemorate one of the shining lights in our community, Helen James.
She’s the President of the North Ryde Combined Probus Club, fundraises for the Heart Foundation, volunteers for the Salvation Army, and is an advocate for educating the community about dementia.
If asked, Helen would describe the past 12 years of her life as a dementia journey. Her husband Gordon was 64 years of age when his diagnosis was received and passed away in February last year aged 76. This debilitating disease and the resulting consequences for them both have driven Helen’s advocacy today.
I genuinely admire Helen and her ability to manage the devastating illness her husband suffered with such a degree of optimism, resilience, good humour and dignity. She somehow finds the time and energy to continue her volunteering and voluntary executive roles. I applaud her efforts to raise awareness of dementia in our community and commend her for being an example to us all.
It’s a privilege to have Helen as the 2018 Ryde Woman of the Year. We are so lucky to have so many strong, smart women in Ryde – happy International Women’s Day!