Long-serving cancer volunteer and battler honoured

Cancer Council volunteer Diane Cohen with Pink Ribbon bears in 2012. Picture: Supplied

Cancer Council volunteer Diane Cohen with Pink Ribbon bears in 2012. Picture: Supplied

After two decades of service to the Cancer Council, Diane Cohen is receiving the help she offered for so long.

The Bidwill resident overcame breast cancer in 1993 and two years later started volunteering for Cancer Council NSW in western Sydney.

For 22 years she held roles including an office administrator in Parramatta, a Daffodil Day volunteer team leader in Blacktown, and a member of the Blacktown Relay For Life committee.

In February, Mrs Cohen received the devastating news she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The organisation she devoted so much of life to paid tribute to the long-term volunteer with a special luncheon in her honour at Mount Druitt Palliative Care Unit on Monday.

Her daughter Laura Mansfield said it was special to see how many lives her mother touched.

“While it’s tragic, it’s been a really special time for mum as well because she can see how much she is loved and how much support there is for her,” Ms Mansfield said.

“She has touched a lot of hearts and it’s great to see so many people do care about her.”

Mrs Cohen has not missed a Daffodil Day for 22 years.

“She’s just so passionate about it, she loves it. That’s her thing and she looks forward to it every year,” Ms Mansfield said.

“She didn’t want to miss out on it this year so she’s asked me to head up the site on her behalf. That’s an honour for me.”

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney regional manager Rory Alcock said Mrs Cohen’s contribution to the organisation had been immense.

“The office has been a quieter place without her and we’ve all missed not having her with us,” Mr Alcock said.

“Di’s ability to connect and chat to anyone and everyone has made her someone people quickly warm too.

“I think if Di was forced to name the volunteer role closest to her heart, it would be as the Blacktown Relay For Life committee member responsible for honouring and celebrating survivors and carers.

“As someone who has had cancer she made sure that Blacktown Relay For Life’s survivors and carers morning tea was treated as the VIP event it should be.”

Special guest Mark Brandt from Blacktown Fire and Rescue, himself a cancer survivor, also paid tribute to Mrs Cohen’s volunteering efforts by presenting her with a Dougal Bear dressed as a firefighter.

The bears will be available to purchase as part of Daffodil Day on August 25.