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Valued ‘vollies’ facing personal journey

Thursday 14 February, 2019

Left to right: John Holman, Adam Josifovski, Relay For Life team leader, Elaine Holman, Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria’s CEO.

Our special tribute to Elaine and John, the winners of our 2018 ‘Volunteer of the year' award. 

John and Elaine Holman first became involved with Cancer Council Victoria after John’s experience with prostate cancer over 13 years ago.

“Our walking group decided to enter a team into the Geelong Relay For Life in 2005 and we’ve had a team ever since,” said Elaine.

Relay For Life is a local community fundraising challenge raising vital funds for cancer research, prevention and support. Teams commit to walking a track overnight to signify that cancer never rests, so neither do we.

Remarkably the Holman’s team has raised over $5,000 each year, making them eligible for a research award annually, and bringing their team’s total fundraising to more than $80,000.

Relay For Life team leader Adam Josifovski (pictured) said in addition to participating, the Holman’s had also been Relay committee members for over nine years.

“Elaine and John have played a vital role in Relay For Life assisting with tasks ranging from events for cancer survivors and carers, to promotion and sourcing sponsorships,” Adam said.

Not content to stop there, about eight years ago Elaine answered a call up for volunteers at our head office in Melbourne and John followed suit.

“John saw how much fun I was having and so he decided to join me,” Elaine said.

Each week the duo travel from Geelong to carry out administrative tasks to help with the large number of Relay events run throughout the year. Elaine has also become part of the Volunteer Training Team, guiding new and existing volunteers, and speaks at events throughout Victoria.

“No job is too big or small for Elaine and John, always taking on tasks with a warm smile on their face,” Adam said.

"Elaine and John always know how to make people smile. Hearing their incredible stories about their adventures around the world is a treat we all look forward to on Friday.”

Recently the couple were given the difficult news that no one wants to hear.

“Over the past few weeks our battle against cancer has become far more personal as Elaine has herself been diagnosed with cancer,” John shared.

“As you can imagine we have been on quite a rollercoaster of emotions and lots of consultations, tests, surgery and radiation and other treatments which, of course, will continue into the foreseeable future.”

The Holmans are well-known throughout our office, their support is greatly treasured, and our thoughts are with them and their loved ones at this time. 

Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers that give so much of their time and energy in support of our work. It was great to see many of our volunteers at our annual Volunteer Thank You event 2018 - special thanks to our volunteers celebrating a remarkable 20 years of support.