Eileen Cooke is the Winner of our 2013 Premmie Hero Volunteer Awards.
For the past 16 years, Eileen has dedicated her life to volunteering in support of babies born prematurely throughout Queensland after the early arrival of her first son, William at 29 weeks in 1996.
Eileen met a representative of the Preterm Infants Parents Association Inc. (PIPA) while on bed rest awaiting the birth of William and from then, wanted to be involved with support families in a similar situation. Over the past 16 years, Eileen has worked tirelessly for the charity and Queensland prem parents and has held the position of Treasurer and parent support officer for over 10 of those years. Eileen has sat or sits on up to eight of Queensland Health or hospital based committee as either a consumer representative or charity representative.
Over the past 16 years Eileen has worked tirelessly for the charity and Queensland prem parents. Her activities are many and varied. She is a regular visitor to the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital neonatal nurseries and the Brisbane Ronald McDonald Houses. Visiting prem parents to provide whatever assistance she and the charity can to help them on their journey. She deals with phone calls and email requests from parents seeking assistance and/or advice. She hosts a regular monthly parent support meeting in her home. She is known endearingly by many as the “PIPA lady”.
Each year Eileen organizes 3 major functions for Brisbane and surrounds based premmie parents. The“Prems in the Park” family picnic held in New Farm in November, “Celebrating Queensland Prems” morning Tea in July and the Prems Christmas Party in December. These events are not fundraisers but major support activities for parents provided by the charity free of charge. They provide not only an opportunity for the celebration of achievements of amazing prems who have endured remarkable journeys in their lives but more importantly these events give the parents and families a chance to reconnect with other parents that shared their journeys in neonatal intensive care or special care nurseries. She is also very active in promoting World Prematurity Day in November each year.
Eileen also knits and sews for the charity, recruits and coordinates a network of regional volunteers, initiated and co-ordinates the charities special day gifts program for Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Christmas, guided the charity in setting up a small fund of money to provide direct support to needy prem parents, is active in the charities community education program as well as it’s fundraising activities.
On top of all of the above, Eileen has also been an integral part of the National Premmie Foundation (NPF) since its formation in 2007 as a founding committee member. She played a key role in setting up the Foundation. Eileen currently holds the position of the Foundation’s Treasurer.
Since having to retire from work early due to ill health, Eileen dedicates much of her time to supporting premmie families throughout Queensland.
Congratulations to Eileen and thank you!