I come from the Torres Strait & my island community is Hammond. The Aboriginal name is Keriri Island. I come from a family of ten. I’ve got five brothers & four sisters & myself make ten. I left home to come down to the mainland because I wanted to broaden my skills & experience. I left home at the age of twenty-six left my Mum & Dad behind. So I came down to Sydney. This is the first time I’ve ever lived in Redfern & there were times I was thinking what am I doing here? Living here? & when RedLink was officially open. I was one of the community members to cut the ribbon. From then on I started my voluntary work at Poets Corner. I have seen big changes. I do volunteer work at the women’s group & whatever program they are running from RedLink. I come in & give them a hand & I find that is good for my health & wellbeing. The group is always open for all women. It is a very multicultural community. There are programs six days a week. There are times I feel sad I want to go home. Feel homesick for my family but otherwise.. They are the things that keep me going at Poets Corner. It was something positive I know... We have a lot of community people here with health issues.. I am not saying everyone.. I thought OK. Being an ex-nurse if I can help someone to button up their life I will to encourage them. Life is what you make it.. To me laughter is a good medicine. I’ve been living in Redfern for ten years & I’ve learnt a lot about people that live in the community. I do look at peoples values. I used to be very conservative. Haha! & when I look at where I am now I think.. That was then. I’ve come a long way. This is a community & just mixing in with the people. I look at their values. I don’t judge them. There are some funny people around. If you can laugh it’s good & again if they can laugh along with you. That’s great! Haha. As for me it is the Redfern & Waterloo area I am known in the community amongst my people. The Aboriginal people & I feel the respect there big time.. & I sort of turn to find that being around my people. I feel comfortable. Where I can still speak a little bit of my lingo to them which is good. I love them here. The womens group & also workers from agency. Which is good because I am an adventurous person I like to learn about other people’s culture. Seeing the big changes we have.. & the good thing about the women’s group is that we have workers that come from Redlink & from the department of health that reaches out to everyone. Or either if I walk around & if I see someone who needs professional support I walk them over to Redlink & they get help from there. I have been elected as the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander tenant rep for the Redfern area. So I attend the housing standard meeting once a month & also at the neighbourhood advisory board meeting. All those things keep me going so I am utilising my skills & qualifications wherever I can. When I moved into Redfern the only program we had was from the factory. They had bingo & art that was Tuesday & there was nothing any other day. I am a cancer survivor. I had a double mastectomy.. I had breast cancer.. I went for the operation in twenty seventeen & I was sitting down thinking what can I do.. So OK I thought I am going to give back to the cancer council. So what I did was organise a volunteer funded walk. The foot falcon walk for life. Me & my team drove from Sydney to Cairns & we started the walk from there all the way to Cape York. So it was a long walk. A very long walk. Say all up about three months. I loved it when I got to the top. Seven days a week I started my walk at half past six in the morning. I was really pushing myself. It was really good for me & my health. I was in remission for twelve months before I did the walk. I felt really good for my well being. My state of mind. What I was going through & I thought.. Did I really do it? After my walk I did a project for Campsie breast screening & South Sydney health & ACON. It is who I am now. I am still doing a lot of voluntery work in the community where I can.. The walk was great. It was the best thing that happened.
Laura is a cancer survivor, ex nurse, health campaigner & active member of the Redfern community.