It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Board of Cancer Wellness Support announces the passing of our Founder, Board Member and friend, Robyn Yates OAM on the Friday, 27th November 2020.
Robyn founded the organisation in 2005 and has worked tirelessly to achieve major outcomes for cancer wellness in the Blue Mountains and Nepean communities. With a great vision in mind, Robyn leased a space in Katoomba and opened an Op Shop to fund her work. Within days, someone had donated the contents of a late relative’s home and the RSPCA gave her a cash register and shelves to sell. The word spread, the shop expanded and a second shop began successfully operating in Penrith in 2009. This community based model today, annually provides over 5,000 subsidised therapies, supporting people who are experiencing cancer, including counselling, lymphoedema management, massage, yoga and art therapy.
In 2015 Robyn’s work was recognised with the Order of Australia Medal “for service to community health through support for people with cancer”. In an interview with the Blue Mountains Gazette in recognising Robyn’s OAM, she said, “The thing that really floats my boat is when I see a person transformed from someone who is anxious and vulnerable when they come in the door. And then, when they start accessing our services or going to groups, they regain control and confidence and can actually see a future for themselves. Blue Mountains Cancer Help tries to offer a sense of hope. It’s empowering to discover there are many things you can do to improve your healing capacity.”
On the 11th May 2020, with Robyn in attendance, Cancer Wellness Support celebrated 15 years in operation with the vision being to provide affordable, subsidised therapies to people living with cancer, their carers and families throughout the Blue Mountains and Penrith Valley regions. As a celebration of this milestone, our Leura Centre, was named the Robyn Yates Centre, Cancer Wellness Support recognising the outstanding achievements of Robyn in establishing and expanding this vital community organisation that support people undergoing treatment and living with cancer.
In complying with COVID19 health restrictions, the funeral and wake are by invitation only. For those who would like to join the community funeral service via Zoom, there are limited Zoom spaces available at our Penrith Centre and at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba from 1:30 pm on 4th December 2020. If you are unable to attend at these venues there is the ability to connect from your own device. Please RSVP to confirm your place at your preferred venue by the 2nd December 2020 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Robyn’s request, no flowers, but consider making a donation to the Robyn Yates Memorial Fund here.
Bob Reid OAM
Cancer Wellness Support