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Kimika Lee recognised for her leadership in the community

Picture: Tom Zaunmayr

Kimberley Palliative Care Aboriginal Health Worker, Kimika Lee, has been recognised for her tireless work in the community by winning the Leadership and Innovation Award at the Western Australia Regional Achievement and Community Awards this month.

The local Yawuru Broome woman and mother of six said winning the award was a remarkable moment and one she never thought would happen.

“A big thankyou to Tanya Pidgeon, a work colleague, who nominated me for this Leadership award which was presented in Perth. Having to go through this amazing experience is one I never thought I would be able to pull off but I proved myself wrong.

“It was an amazing night and I will never forget it for the rest of my life,” Ms Lee said.

As a vital support for many at the end of life, Ms Lee took some time to speak with Palliative Matters to answer questions from the Dying to Talk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Discussion Starter to share what would be important to her at the end of life. The Discussion Starter aims to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to start thinking about what would happen if they were so sick that someone else had to make decisions for them.

What are some of the things you value most in life?

The things I most value in life now, I am still here today to see my grandchildren. I am also grateful to see all my six children and my immediate family are healthy. We are a very close nit family and we always have family gatherings and catch ups.

What brings you joy and happiness?

My grand-daughters Hanako & Niyoka brings big joy to my life. Fishing, gardening and hanging out with family and loved ones brings me great happiness.

Are there any cultural and family traditions that are important to you?

Cultural and family traditions that are important to me is hunting and gathering seasonally. Sharing with family and friends what -ever is in season (fish, goanna, shell meat, bush fruits)

If you were very sick, what things would you and your family get strength from?

If I got very sick the strength would be family, friends and community getting together to plan the care for me.

Are there any fears you have about the end of your life?

Yes. I have a fear of leaving my children and grand-children. On the other hand, if I have to go, I would like my family around to comfort me and to make sure I am not suffering.

How important is it for you to visit country before you die, or to be on country when you die?

Well I am a local Broome lady so I will get buried next to our mum that is peacefully at the Broome cemetery, so yes on my home ground.


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