2017 was an exciting year for gynaecological health in Australia with the formation of the Australian Coalition for Endometriosis and the announcement from Australian health minister Greg Hunt of a national plan to help improve treatment of endometrosis sufferers.
Western Australian Senior of the Year 2018, Kath Mazzella OAM recently returned from her trip to Canberra for the Australian of the year awards and is sharing her story with us. Congratulations Kath and thank you for advocating for gynaecological patients nationwide.
'I recently accepted my 11th award after being announced Western Australian Senior Australian of the Year 2018. It was an honour to participate, to be part of the fantastic celebrations and to connect up with other future thinkers. It was wonderful that Tony (my husband) was invited to join in the celebrations. After all I know full well, if I didn’t have Tony by my side I would never ever do what I do.
First off, we had celebrations at City of Perth followed by lunch with Western Australian Governor Sanderson and the other WA recipients. Then off to Canberra for more celebrations. I was chuffed to have morning tea at The Lodge and meet the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, all be it for 2 minutes. He mentioned the recently highly published mesh issues. I met Governor General Cosgrove and his wife who just happened to sit at our table, where I asked for her 2 minutes of her time. She suggested I contact her after she showed interest in my work and after giving her a pair of my undies. I will follow this up after a meeting with the Western Australian Australia Day Alumni soon where I wish to liaise more with them how we can work into the future about community Gynaecological Health.
The presentation evening at Parliament House was out of this world. Something never to be forgotten. I was pleased to meet the MC of the evening Chris Bath who was very interested in my work after I handed her a pair of undies. I have since spoken with Chris on ABC Radio NSW. We also met Ita Buttrose and Dick Smith. I am still in awe. It was also exciting to walk into the Australian Museum and see photos of the recipients. It made me chuckle that little Kath Mazzella from down town Perth had her picture in the Australian Museum.
I have found over the years, it takes support from awards such as Australian of the Year, to keep the momentum of change progressing. I still don’t quite understand why I am given these awards yet very little acceptance in speaking out. Am I too fat, too old, too ugly, too confronting for society? I think not. I think the issue dates back to the beginning of time and feel that now is the time for not just changes but extraordinary changes. The time has come for open communication around Gynaecological and related mental health issues. Suffering in silence in no longer acceptable.
It is exciting to see the formation of the Australian Coalition for Endometriosis and the progress being made on behalf of endometriosis sufferers nationwide. It's exciting to have the federal government work with