One very caring Murray Bridge resident was recently honoured by Australia’s Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Deborah Holt was awarded the Cystic Fibrosis Australia Support Person Award for 2017 by Sir Peter during a private ceremony at Kirribilli House On Monday November 20, and called being honoured “an understatement.”
“It really is an honour, but saying that doesn’t feel like it’s enough,” she said.
Ms Holt attended the ceremony with her son Aaron and said until she actually took her seat before proceedings got underway, she thought the Support Person Award was given out to someone from each state or territory.
“I didn’t know it was for the whole country,” she said. “It was only when I started flicking through the little booklet that I realised I was the only person in Australia getting the award.”
The last four years of her Ms Holt’s life have revolved around caring for ill family and friends including her husband, both of her parents and Casey Hutchinson, who currently lives with cystic fibrosis, and Casey’s mother.
She said everyone she had cared up until Ms Hutchinson had died, and caring had become a become almost a healing tool for her.
“I lost my husband first, about three-and-a-half years ago, then my mother, father and Casey’s mum – and I’ve felt that helping care for everyone along the way has helped me through this rough run,” Ms Holt said. “The last four years have been very hard, but I’ve had my wonderful children who’ve helped me through too.”
Cystic Fibrosis SA’s Nicky Tichener nominated Ms Holt for her work with Ms Hutchinson, but was aware of her caring history.
“Deb put all her own family commitments on hold as she supported Casey through the workup for double lung transplant, whilst also caring for her own terminally ill father,” she said. “She was fully prepared to spend three months in Melbourne with Casey post-surgery.”
The award could not have been given to a more deserving person, Ms Tinchener said.
Ms Tichener said Mrs Holt and Ms Hutchinson worked collaboratively, but that Mrs Holt’s contributions were beyond important.
“There is no doubt that her support is vital for Casey in maintaining her quality of life, and I think Deb is fully deserving of this award,” Ms Tichener said.