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June 2018

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Counterpart advisory group chair Helen Coleman (right) and star volunteers Judy Sammut and Rhonda Cole cut the celebration cake.

Cancer service marks 15th anniversary

The Women’s Health Victoria service that connects, supports and informs women with breast or a gynaecological cancer has celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Formerly known as BreaCan, the Counterpart event attracted more than 100 people.

‘Since 2003, we’ve supported women affected by breast or a gynaecological cancer more than 30,000 times,’ said Women’s Health Victoria support programs manager Dianne Hill.

‘That is a significant contribution to helping Victorian women live well after a cancer diagnosis.’

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and for Carers and Volunteers Gabrielle Williams presented the Counterpart Champion award to retired peer support volunteer and advocate for women Heather Beanland.

Ms Beanland was a peer support volunteer from 2003 to 2017 and shared her time and experience generously across all aspects of the service.

She also contributes to many committees in the cancer and women’s health spheres.

Ms Williams also presented certificates to volunteers who have achieved 10 and 15 years of service.

Rhonda Cole, who was in the very first intake of peer support volunteers and has seen the service grow and flourish over the last 15 years, addressed the event.

‘I volunteer because I think it is important to give others hope... to show women that there is life after a cancer diagnosis,’ Ms Cole said.

It has been inspiring to see how their dedication and compassion has created a caring and safe space for other women, said Women’s Health Victoria Chief Executive Officer Rita Butera.

Ms Williams also launched a new app – the Counterpart Navigator – funded by the Victorian Government.

Building on the earlier BreaCan Navigator app, the Counterpart Navigator helps women with breast or a gynaecological cancer to find reliable, evidence-based information on topics they want to know about.

•       The Counterpart Navigator is available free on iTunes and Google play, as well as online at