Peer to cheer support

Viv Bearne, a Melton local is trying to get more people to volunteer as cancer support workers.

By Ewen McRae

Melton’s Vivienne Bearne was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and she is now using her experience to support other women.

For the past two years, Ms Bearne has worked as a peer support volunteer with breast care network Counterpart.

“I know that I’m a light at the end of the tunnel because I’m so well, fit and healthy,” Ms Bearne said. “Now it’s my turn to give back. That’s why I volunteer here at Counterpart.”

Counterpart connects, supports and informs women with cancer.

The organisation is training more peer support volunteers in 2019, and Ms Bearne is encouraging women who have experienced breast or a gynaecological cancer to consider applying.

“I’d recommend it because it is a self-healing thing,” she said.

Counterpart support services manager Dianna Hill said volunteers were crucial, particularly in outer suburban areas.

“Many women find a cancer diagnosis to be an isolating time,” Ms Hill said.

“This is especially true for women in rural, regional and outer-metropolitan areas.”

Counterpart is recruiting volunteers who have had a diagnosis of breast or gynaecological cancer at least two years ago.