Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Pic­ture: Carly Laden

Broome health worker Kimika Lee has had an in­spi­ra­tional jour­ney on her way to win­ning one of the State’s top achieve­ment awards.

The feel­ing of win­ning a pres­ti­gious State award is still sink­ing in for Broome-based Abo­rig­i­nal health worker Kimika Lee.

Ms Lee won the Lead­er­ship and In­no­va­tion Award at the WA Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards on Oc­to­ber 19, for her tire­less work with Kim­ber­ley Pal­lia­tive Care Ser­vices.

She said she was sur­prised to be nom­i­nated by her peers for the award, let alone win the award.

“It’s the first time I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced some­thing like this — I didn’t think I would pull it off con­sid­er­ing who I was up against,” she said. Ms Lee said she felt proud to know the cat­e­gory fi­nal­ists were also from the Kim­ber­ley, with Broome’s Anne Poelina and Ku­nunurra’s Mon­tana Ah­won also named as award fi­nal­ists.

Work­ing in pal­lia­tive care had not al­ways been Ms Lee’s dream, as she ini­tially worked at Broome Hos­pi­tal as a ho­tel ser­vice per­son, after hav­ing her six chil­dren, be­fore she was ap­proached by for­mer col­league Kerry Cun­ning­ham.

“She told me I was a real peo­ple per­son and she wanted me to ap­ply for her job be­cause she was leav­ing for Mel­bourne,” she said.

”Thank­fully, I got the job but be­cause I didn’t ini­tially have the nec­es­sary qual­i­fi­ca­tions, I had to go and com­plete a num­ber of cer­tifi­cates in Abo­rig­i­nal health.

”I first com­pleted my Cer­tifi­cate III and now I just com­pleted my Cer­tifi­cate IV. From there, I want to be­come a prac­ti­tioner.”

Ms Lee said since she be­came an Abo­rig­i­nal health worker in pal­lia­tive care, she loves her job and the role it gives her in the com­mu­nity.

“I see my role . . . as hav­ing lead­er­ship in my com­mu­nity be­cause there aren’t that many Abo­rig­i­nal health work­ers in pal­lia­tive care out there,” she said. “I also want to em­power the other Abo­rig­i­nal health work­ers to have that sense of lead­er­ship with the knowl­edge they have.

“We’re a small, unique team at Kim­ber­ley Pal­lia­tive Care Ser­vices and we’re the only team in the region so it is very im­por­tant for our re­mote com­mu­ni­ties to know about their health with­out all the med­i­cal jar­gon. We help break it down for them when they come to hos­pi­tal so when they go back to coun­try, they know what to do.”

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Kimika Lee rep­re­sented Broome as she ac­cepted the lead­er­ship and in­no­va­tion award.

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