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International Women’s Day means so much for mother of five, Director at Springfield City Group and Mater supporter, Meera Honan.
For her, it’s a time to reflect on the women who have made a positive impression on her life.
One person in particular is Natalie Stevens (Nat), whose sense of humour, caring nature and positivity have left a lasting impression on her.
Meera and Nat met in 2008 and instantly they formed a special bond.
Little did Meera know that Nat had been battling breast cancer for more than 12 years at the time.
“Our children were attending primary school together and that’s when we first met,” she said.
“Nat had an incredible energy and was always upbeat, happy and impeccably presented.
“I would say ‘how are you?’ and she would always answer positively and ask me how I was. Even when things were not going well for Nat, she always wanted to hear what was happening in my life.”
Nat passed away in December 2015 after a courageous 19 years suffering from the disease.
The impact this had on Nat’s family and close group of friends was, and still is, profound.
“I heard about the RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run and I thought I need to channel my grief into something positive, knowing that is exactly what Nat would have wanted. I knew she wouldn’t want us to be upset.”
Despite “not being a runner”, Meera signed up for the run and channelled her energy into raising funds in Nat’s honour.
By event day she had raised $8000 for breast cancer research and patient support services at Mater.
Momentum started to build amongst her friends and Nat’s parents and that is when Remembering Nat was born.
Remembering Nat is the name of a group of family and friends who come together to keep Nat’s memory alive.
Their inaugural fundraising event, Bubbles for Bliss, was held in 2016 and a staggering $45 000 was raised.
“These funds have help fund a trial into Ascites—a condition that Nat endured towards the end of her brave battle,” Meera said.
“Remembering Nat has also raised a further $35 000 which will assist with the purchase of a scalp cooler—a piece of equipment that prevents hair loss for cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
“For me personally, supporting Mater has always been an important part of this journey.
“Commitment to research and the care for patients and their families, like Nat’s, is immeasurable. This is the true spirit of the Sisters of Mercy."
Remembering Nat has raised close to $100 000 since their fundraising began in 2016.
“I think Nat would be thrilled with what we are doing and what we have been able to achieve so far," Meera said.
“I am a better person for having known Nat, and it is a privilege to honour her in this way.”
Reflecting on International Women’s Day 2018, Meera acknowledged the strong women around her and how coming together for one was goal, achieved remarkable results.
“The energy that women have when they work together is unique and when it comes to philanthropy, women do such a wonderful job.
“My mother has always been my role model in this regard and it’s important for me to show this to my own daughters— the women of the future."
Photo captions (top): From right Meera Honan with Mater breast cancer patient Simone Neil and Meera's daughter Aaliya
(bottom): Meera with her family and friends who took part in the 2016 RACQ International Women's Day Fun Run