Brave young Auckland woman fighting brain tumour wins outstanding achievement award

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An Auckland woman living with a brain tumour has been recognised by the Government for dedicating her life to helping others.

Eilish Wilkes received the Minister of Health Youth Volunteer award for outstanding achievement.
Source: 1 NEWS

This afternoon at a ceremony in Parliament, Eilish Wilkes received the Minister of Health Youth Volunteer Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The 20 year-old has spent the last 12 years volunteering for the Child Cancer Foundation, where she made and donated blankets to newly diagnosed families, and spoke publicly about her own experiences with cancer.

She also spent eight years delivering food to parents of kids at Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Miss Wilkes, who is now based in Taupo, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour when she was two years-old, which has left her legally blind and living with stroke-like migraine attacks.

She also has chronic fatigue and pain.

"I'd say I'm a very determined person. I push myself very, very hard to achieve the things I want to achieve and I wont let anything get in my way," Eilish Wilkes told 1 News.

"Just seeing the difference it (volunteering) makes in others lives, I guess it just gives me a huge, huge boost of satisfaction," she says.

Her father, Pat Wilkes, was also runner up for the Long Service Volunteer Award for his work with the Cancer Foundation over 16 years.

He became a volunteer in 2001 when Eilish was diagnosed with cancer.

"Even when she was feeling a bit off colour I’d say 'oh look sweet heart stay home' and she'd say 'no I'm coming, I want to do this'."

Mr Wilkes says his daughter is absolutely driven to volunteer.

Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service was the overall winner of the 2017 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says their 450 volunteers committed time, energy and enthusiasm to the tune of around 12,000 hours last year to support patients who are often going through a difficult time.

"Last year alone they greeted about 30,000 patients and visitors, took them to their appointments, provided nearly 5,500 hours of support in the Emergency Department and produced 9,000 garments for babies, children and older people staying in hospital."

This week is National Volunteer Week.

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