Shirley Andrusiak started volunteering for Diabetes WA 23 years ago, when her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time she was also a lecturer at Midland TAFE, a volunteer guide on Rottnest Island, and a mother of four children.
Now 78 years old, Shirley has also been volunteering on Rottnest for 25 years, and finds both volunteering roles challenging and fulfilling. At Diabetes WA she puts together the welcome packs for Western Australians who have registered for the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS).
“It’s important work that needs to be done. If these packs didn’t get posted, people wouldn’t be able to manage their diabetes as efficiently”, Shirley said, explaining why she still feels passionate about her work. She also likes to feel that she’s helping an organisation that has helped her.
“Diabetes WA had helped me to understand how to look after my daughter with her diabetes,” Shirley said.
The energetic retiree makes the most of every day – when she’s not volunteering or spending time with family, she’s golfing with friends or playing the drums in the samba band, The Bassanovas. In that regard she continues her relationship with Diabetes WA, who have engaged The Bassanovas for the last five years to entertain runners during the HBF Run for a Reason. Diabetes WA is one of the nominated charities for the HBF Run for a Reason which in on 27 May.
Staff at Diabetes WA love having volunteers work alongside them in the office, and will be acknowledging each of them during National Volunteer Week. Inventory Support Officer, Ray Coffey, has been working alongside Shirley for 17 years and realises the incalculable value she has provided to the charity.
“She’s a gun – she does excellent work, and is very reliable,” Ray described Shirley.
When asked about volunteering, Shirley advises people to find opportunities that fit with their interests and make an impact.
“It’s important to do something you enjoy, and something that challenges you,” Shirley said.
National Volunteer Week started this week on Monday. Become like Shirley, and start your volunteering journey at Diabetes WA today!