Overcoming adversity to serve others

Gayleen Mackereth with (l-r) Ian Rodger from the Half Moon Bay Rotary Club who nominated her for the award, Adrienne Davies past-president of the Inner Wheel Club of Howick and Del Johnston. Photo supplied.

Ratepayer advocate Gayleen Mackereth has been presented with the Dawn Johnston Koru Award, given in recognition of someone in the community who has overcome adversity, to live a life of serving others.

She was recognised at the annual changeover of office bearers of the Howick Inner Wheel Club recently.

While riding her bike some years ago, Gayleen was hit by a driver who ran a give way sign, resulting in multiple injuries, months in a spinal unit and consigned her to a wheelchair.

“Not one to let her incapacity to get her down, Gayleen has demonstrated her resilience over the years, by sheer determination – whether it be chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents’ Association with involvement in research through the exhaustive Auckland Council plans and documents; meetings with council representatives and much correspondence with the Council regarding the long-term saga of Stockade Hill view-shaft,” says Adrienne Davies, immediate past-president of Howick Inner Wheel.

Gayleen teaches a number of students on-line in French, German and Spanish and despite living with extreme pain, and battling tiredness, Gayleen puts on a brave face and never stops. She undertakes swimming and physio exercises, plus tall walker to help with the mobility of her upper body and is very appreciative of the constant help and assistance from her husband, Don.

Dawn Johnston, a charter member of the Howick Inner Wheel Club, decided on this award after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it was based on the International Inner Wheel theme for 2017/2018 ‘Leave a Legacy’.

The inaugural presentation of this award was made last year to Alan Breslau of Half Moon Bay who survived a horrific plane crash many years ago, followed by many years in hospital and then a lifetime of encouraging and empowering others.

The spiral shape of the koru, the emblem of the award, signifies new life, positive change, personal growth, harmony, and hope for the future. Sadly Dawn lost her battle with cancer in May this year.

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