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Meet Colleen Billows - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

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Meet Colleen Billows - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Supporting hospital families

Ronald McDonald House South Australia
Dedicated. Committed. Caring

Inspirational 85-year-old Colleen Billow has been supporting families with seriously ill children for more than two decades.

Colleen is a dedicated volunteer at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) South Australia. The house looks after out-of-town families while their children receive treatment at the nearby Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She treats all visitors like family and is known as Nana Colleen.

“I am always amazed to observe the strength of parents in overcoming their children's health problems and the capabilities of children in accepting their situation and surviving,” she says.

Colleen runs the dinner program twice a week, where she leads the volunteers who cook a meal for the families. She also visits on weekends, cheering up families with her famous cupcakes and slices.

In 2019, at 83 years of age, Colleen abseiled down the 33-storey Westpac building to raise money for RMH. “Everyone said you’re crazy, but I had decided it was nothing compared with the turmoil some of our families face,” she says.

Colleen feels humbled to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “As a volunteer at RMH for 21 years, I am sure that I have learnt much more from our families than I have ever given. The families we support are my inspiration and motivation to continue as a volunteer.”

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Ronald McDonald House South Australia will use its funds to create an induction and health and safety video for new families, as well as refurbish the parents’ room.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here