Breast Cancer Network Australia asked Founder Lyn Swinburne to pen her thoughts on the passing of BCNA member Lorraine Elliot.
Lorraine is pictured above helping us to launch the first edition of the My Journey Kit at Federation Square in Melbourne 2004.
'I first met Lorraine back in the late 70s, when she was an occasional visitor to our Friday night drinks and wrap-up group.
This was a neighbourhood group of women and we met for years at 5pm to talk about the week and to enjoy each other’s company.
Lorraine’s background was as an English teacher; she loved literature, read prolifically and was an active book-club member.
Over the following years, I would see Lorraine, but not frequently. She had a busy life as a corporate wife bringing up 3 children and being active in her community.
She entered state politics in 1992 and moved to live in the seat of Mooroolbark, where she represented that constituency for 10 years. She became a passionate Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts during the Kennett government’s time in power.
In opposition, she was the shadow Minister for Community Services and also the Arts. She was an unusual politician in that she spoke out about issues according to what she thought was right, and did not necessarily blindly follow the Party line.
After politics, Lorraine led a full, active life. She went on to become the Chair of St Vincent’s Hospital and played a role in the running of several charities and community groups.
She spoke animatedly about her readings at the Lyceum Club and of recent books she’d read, concerts she’d attended and exhibitions she’d seen. She loved being down at Flinders and spending time with her grandchildren.
It was in 2001, when Lorraine was diagnosed with breast cancer, that our paths re-connected more actively.
She became a member of BCNA at this time and in 2005, she helped us launch The My Journey Kit at Federation Square in Melbourne. She was passionate about empowering women with information and she thought the new Kit was terrific.
I last spoke with Lorraine about 4 weeks before her death, which caught so many of us by surprise. It certainly seemed cruel to me that she had lived the 13 years following her original diagnosis without a hint of her cancer returning.
She’d had pain in her back, had been receiving treatment from the physio and then, following tests, it was revealed that her breast cancer was back – big time.
I feel very sad that Lorraine has been lost to the world. We need good women like Lorraine.
She was always someone I looked up to, but she was very human and lots of fun and she had the most engaging smile.
She will live on through her three children and many grandchildren and in the memories of those who knew her. '