A familiar face at the Bega hospital has been recognised for her hard work and big heart.
On Thursday, Beryl Harris was surprised by a crowd of supporters when she walked into the South East Regional Hospital and was handed the 2019 volunteer of the year Quality Award.
"I feel elated, I feel honoured; to me I just take for granted what I do here," the Bega resident said.
"As long as I'm helping people, I don't expect to get anything.
"I'm not here for that, I'm here to have compassion and lots and lots of empathy, because that's what you need to work here.
"There's nothing worse than going somewhere and you just feel so alone."
For 34 years she has volunteered with the Southern NSW Local Health District in many parts of the South East, according to the citation for her award.
She has undertaken training in pastoral support and palliative care, and has been instrumental in the establishment of several key initiatives and actively encourages broader participation.
Two areas that she felt were important for her to assist in were delirium and dementia.
"Looking after the elderly and the special needs people is a passion for me," Ms Harris said.
"This is home to me again, like the old [hospital] was."
Her passion for volunteering started many years ago, as she used to work in various organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society.
But one day she became sick and had to go to hospital in Canberra for a stay that ended up lasting for three months.
Her husband could not join her as they had a child in school, but while she was in hospital she met the daughter of a fellow patient who would take home her clothes to wash.
When Ms Harris returned to the Bega Valley she met with others and decided they needed a support group in the area for people who needed help in hospital and the Pink Ladies were born.
In 1999, she was diagnosed with cancer and had two years off from helping people, before returning and walking the journey with patients going through chemotherapy.
"I have done many, many roles in this hospital," she said.
"At one stage I was volunteering for every volunteer position there was!
"I just like being around a family, they come and they go but it remains one family.
"It's such a big passion of mine to be able to give what I can give to people who are less fortunate than me."
Now, she has secondary cancer so has taken a break from volunteering again, describing it as "another merry-go-round".
"These things are here to test you," Ms Harris said.
"I look forward to the day I can come back [to volunteer at the hospital]."