Cathy O'Brien: Share the Dignity: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

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Cathy O'Brien: Share the Dignity: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Providing sanitary items to women and girls

Uplifting. Hilarious. Kind

Accountant Cathy O’Brien has always been grateful that her material needs have been fulfilled, and is conscious things could have been different if she were born into a different family.

It is important to her to help others in need, which is why she jumped at the chance to volunteer for Share the Dignity, a charity that collects sanitary and hygiene items which are distributed via partners to girls and women who are homeless, victims of domestic violence or facing other types of hardship.

One of the charity’s highlights takes place every November when it collects handbags filled with sanitary items and products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap and toothpaste to give away as Christmas gifts.

“I find so much rewarding about the work,” says Cathy, who juggles her volunteering with her professional career and being a single mum.

She values the ability to make a difference in people's lives as well as the opportunity to meet and connect with kind and inspiring people who are working hard to help others.

Cathy is a diligent ambassador for the charity and has a track record of signing up many businesses as collection points. Her work helped Share the Dignity meet its targets last year.

She feels both proud and grateful to be voted a Westfield Local Hero. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help more people and raise awareness of a cause I care greatly about.

“By receiving these essential items, women improve their sense of dignity by not having to go without or make do with substitutes,” she says.

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.

Share the Dignity will use its grant to increase the number of products distributed via partner charities.

“The funding and publicity will enable us to help a lot of women with something that most of us take for granted and to remove barriers and difficulties from the everyday lives of women and girls,” says Cathy.

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

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