In sickness and in health – the words most of us associate with marriage vows. But for Kealba husband and wife Deb and Hilmi, this sums up their connection to Western Health.
"We began volunteering with Western Health over seven years ago and have been lucky to work in many areas of the hospital in our time. Making great friends and memories along the way," said Hilmi.
"What started with a few hours helping out has grown to be a regular ongoing commitment. This feels like our home," said Deb.
After a recent health scare and admission to Footscray Hospital, Deb found herself in a position where she was the patient. Now on the road to recovery and having completed her rehabilitation program, she and her medical team have set goals to get her back on her feet.
One of those goals was to take part in WalkWest, a walk/run in support of Western Health. Deb has been involved with WalkWest since the inaugural event in 2014. This year's event however takes on a special meaning as she conquers her rehabilitation and gives back to the hospital that helped her in her time of need.
"I've been involved and volunteered with WalkWest since the first event and I'm really looking forward to being a participant this year," said Deb.
WalkWest offers a 2km, 5km or 10km walk or run along the Maribyrnong River and is open to all ages and abilities making it ideal for Deb's rehabilitation.
"I'd love to do the 5km walk but I don't think I'm quite ready yet. After my bypass surgery, 2km is an achievable goal," said Deb.
"I've been gently training and building up my strength by walking around shopping centres and doing some window shopping at the same time," said Deb.
Hilmi will be cheering on Deb from the sidelines in his role as WalkWest volunteer.
"Western Health has played an important part in our lives both as volunteers and caring for loved ones. We feel it's important to get involved and raise money to support our local hospitals," said Hilmi.
This year over 1,000 people are expected to take part in WalkWest on Sunday 22 March. Starting and finishing in Footscray Park, the course is accessible for all fitness levels and abilities and is suitable for the whole family. The WalkWest Village will have a festival atmosphere with food, entertainment and activities taking place pre and post event.
WalkWest is a Western Health Foundation fundraiser in partnership with Dow Chemicals Australia. All proceeds from the event will support improved health outcomes for Melbourne's west. The money raised from WalkWest supports Western Health to develop new programs and services, facilitate clinical research, secure the latest equipment and further enhance patient facilities.