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Yamatji researcher honoured

Giovanni Torre -
:

A researcher from the University of Western Australia's WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to Indigenous cancer care in the regions at a prestigious international Indigenous cancer conference recently held in Naarm/Melbourne.

Proud Yamatji woman Lenny Papertalk received the 2024 World Indigenous Cancer Conference award for her consumer and advocacy work in Geraldton and Mullewa in the Midwest of Western Australia. 

The award recognises someone who has provided a voice for Indigenous cancer care and shown outstanding energy and influence in cancer care for Indigenous people.

In accepting the award, Ms Papertalk spoke about having to choose as a 17 year-old between education and caring for her grandmother, her cultural knowledge holder, who had cancer.

A qualified Social Worker and Community Engagement Officer employed with WACRH in Geraldton, Ms Papertalk was instrumental with her WACRH and UWA colleagues in developing the ‘Whisper No More: Sharing Our Stories for better cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ program.

WACRH described her as "a passionate advocate in encouraging her Yamatji community to share their lived experiences living with cancer".

With Ms Papertalk's help and community engagement, Aboriginal cancer patients shared their stories on video and agreed to the use of the material to make resources for health professionals to enhance their understanding of what matters to Aboriginal people when they have cancer. 

Topics in the interviews include the person with their family, their symptoms and diagnosis, care seeking and delays in diagnosis, response to diagnosis treatment, and what helped them living with their cancer diagnosis, things they did to stay well and wishes for end-of-life care. 

WACRH Director Professor Sandra Thompson said: “Lenny was selected from Indigenous attendees from all around the world for this award. What a huge achievement it is for her to be recognised in this way.”

“Lenny is a remarkable indefatigable woman with a very big heart. It is fantastic to see her being acknowledged for her efforts over many years supporting better cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people. We are all celebrating her great achievement.”


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