She is the kind of friend you want, the bubbly personality and benevolent Jan Wheeler is the type of person to hear about a diagnosis, find the appropriate registered charity, and then devote her time to fundraising and raising awareness.
From selling fake moustaches to her work colleagues, tie-dying shirts in pinks, purples and blues the "old-fashioned way" for a range of different charities including TOFS (Tracheo-oesophageal fistula), or fundraising with Mission Australia to purchase swags, the Eden woman doesn't do it for the accolades, but because of a cause close to her heart.
Jan, who was diagnosed with Stage-3 breast cancer in 2010, has helped to raise more than $75,000 for charities like The Breast Cancer Foundation, since she joined the Woolworths team as a permanent part-time worker in 2015.
Two years after joining the team, Jan approached her store manager at the time, Garry Trease, and asked if he would mind her organising a breast cancer fundraiser, to which he gave her the go ahead.
Due to her remarkable fundraising efforts and for taking the lead in coordinating donations on behalf of Woolworths Tura Beach, Jan recently won the title of Care Leader of the Year for NSW, standing out among 7000 applications nationally in the supermarket's annual team member awards program.
"I think I am still shocked that I got picked for this in the first place," Jan said. "Couldn't believe it, because I have always been passionate about organising events. I organise family events, and I once was a leisure and lifestyle coordinator in the nursing home."
Store manager for Woolworths Tura Beach Lisa Payne said the result was fantastic, and described how Jan was a real asset to the team as she drove fundraising with immeasurable passion.
Jan sat opposite her with a smile, before she said, holding back tears, "And that really means something to me."
The 61-year-old said the team at Woolworths have been extremely generous, never saying no to a charity she wanted to fundraise for, most of which she had heard about through fellow team members and their families.
Not one to miss an opportunity to fundraise, Jan said there will be a Movember barbecue with egg and bacon sandwiches and sausage sandwiches on Saturday, November 4 outside Woolworths Tura Beach.
Movember helps to raise awareness of men's health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide, aiming to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives.
"We'll see you Saturday, you can buy some raffle tickets," she said with a smile.
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