The gems in our community glowed at a feel-good ceremony for the Bay of Plenty Kiwibank Local Hero Awards this week. These 22 good-doers among us usually fly under the radar, but their contribution to the community was highlighted when each stood up on stage to receive an award for their good work. Reporter Jean Bell speaks to one Local Hero, Sue Wall-Cade.
"Is this spam?"
This was the first thing that popped into Sue Wall-Cade's head when she received an email saying she had been nominated as a Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year.
The Tauranga woman, who lives with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, was humming through a normal day at work when the email dropped into her inbox.
"I thought, 'What on Earth is this? Has my email been hacked?"
But a Facebook message from her nominator saying they'd received the same email confirmed it was legitimate.
Wall-Cade was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2017. During her diagnosis she discovered that the medication, Kadcyla, that would improve and lengthen her life, was very expensive and not funded in New Zealand.
She went on to team up with other cancer patients and successfully campaign for Pharmac to fund the drug, changing the lives of hundreds of cancer sufferers in New Zealand.
While Wall-Cade said she was "very honoured" to receive the award at a ceremony on Wednesday night at Classic Flyers, she said she did what felt natural.
"I don't know that I'm a hero," she says.
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"Through my awareness with having cancer, I feel I've seen an injustice for our health system and I thought, 'I need to do something about this, this is diabolical'."
"This isn't just about me - it's about the other ladies who are suffering as well and the ladies who are yet to come through and I will be there."
Wall-Cade said it was inspiring to attend the awards ceremony on Wednesday and hear what other Local Heroes were doing in the community.
"It was just amazing. I was really blown away and quite inspired. They care that much about their community that they just get stuck in.
"Sometimes you just feel like you're beating your head against a brick wall, so it was uplifting to hear the stories of others."
Wall-Cade hoped the award would bring more awareness to the issues around cancer drug funding.
The Kiwibank Local Heroes for the Bay of Plenty are:
· Davina Plummer (Tauranga)
· Charles Harrison (Tauranga)
· Gordon Burr (Tauranga)
· Sam Dowdall (Tauranga)
· Sue Wall-Cade (Mount Maunganui)
· Dave Dobbin (Whakatane)
· Hilary Price (Katikati)
· Tania Lewis Rickard (Tauranga)
· Graham Hoete (Pāpāmoa)
· Diane Stretton Yalden (Taneatua)
· Dr Bernard Conlon (Murupara)
· Dr Britta Conlon (Murupara)
· Josey McKain (Paeroa)
· Steve McKain (Paeroa)
· Lettecia Williams (Port Charles)
· Margriet Theron (Rotorua)
· Karen Barker (Reporoa)
· Danielle Porteous (Rotorua)
· Judy Bowen (Rotorua)
· Jan Bellingham (Rotorua)
· Nicky Mayne (Rotorua)
· Tui Martin (Rotorua)