LARA local and Cancer After Care Group Group president Libby Bate is this year’s 2022 Viva Energy Community Legend of the Year.
Described as a “true community legend” by her peers, Mrs Bate was recognised at a special awards ceremony at GMHBA Stadium on Tuesday evening for her endless support and commitment to positive outcomes for local cancer patients and cancer services in the Geelong region.
Community Legend of the Year and Rising Star Award winners were chosen by a panel of judges that represented a broad cross section of Geelong’s community, with judges recognising deserving finalists and overall winners for their continuous commitment to helping those around them and the organisations they support.
Cancer After Care Group Geelong Inc support group was co-founded in 1978 by Bate’s mother-in-law and was developed due to a lack of facilities in Geelong for community members who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Fourteen years later, and after working with six ministers of health, the support group received their cancer care wish and to help establish the Andrew Love Cancer Centre alongside Barwon Health.
Since then, the organisation has helped to raise over $4 million for cancer services at Barwon Health.
As an awards finalist, Mrs Bate received $3,000 to give to a charity of her choice and also received another $10,000 for taking out the top honour.
Mrs Bate will give the $13,0000 to the Barwon Health Foundation’s Andrew Love Cancer Centre Lasting Legacy Fund, which was established this year in recognition of the centre’s 30th anniversary.
“I’m shocked and overwhelmed, I’ve been out and about a bit lately and people have been coming up to congratulate me, I think it’s starting to sink in,” Mrs Bate said.
“Knowing that we’ve helped in the establishment of the Andrew Love Cancer Centre, and then being able to continue to support them by supplying funds for equipment that they have on a wish list, that government funds just don’t cover, is in itself rewarding.
“In the last few years, we’ve started working very close with the Barwon Health Foundation and that’s reinvigorated me.
“Their energy and commitment to make sure our community has the best health facilities possible make it worthwhile helping.”
Barwon Health Foundation will invest Mrs Bate’s donation in the Lasting Legacy Fund, which will continue to grow, to ensure the very best health care for the future.
“We want to make sure the very best cancer treatment for future generations is available,” Mrs Bate said.
“We want to continue to upgrade facilities and continue to work closely with the Barwon Health Foundation, who actually nominated me for the award.
“Being 75, some days you feel tired, but you get reinvigorated when you see the results of what you’ve been able to achieve.”
Jess Johns from South Barwon Football and Netball Club received the Rising Star Award, while Damian McKeegan from Geelong Youth Engagement took out the People’s Choice Award.
To see the full list of finalists head to communitylegends.com.au/