By Jessica Howard
It’s only fitting that Noelle Dickson is the face of an innovative health campaign titled ‘Women Making It Happen’.
The Bacchus Marsh resident is one of 14 women who were this year nominated by their peers as a woman inspiring change.
The campaign was established in 2015 with the help of Djerriwarrh Health Services and Melton Council, and is launched each year on International Women’s Day.
This year, the public were asked to nominate a woman who would be photographed and interviewed for a series celebrating and empowering women.
Those successfully chosen were celebrated at a special dinner held in Melton on Wednesday, March 8.
A DjHS spokesperson said Ms Dickson was recognised as someone who is passionate about helping victims of crime and making changes to the justice system, which she believes failed her 22-year-old daughter, Sarah Cafferkey.
Sarah was murdered in 2012 by Steven Hunter, a convicted murderer whose parole had ended just days before her death.
Ms Dickson has since marched in protest, organised rallies and continued to fight for changes, not only in her community, but for anyone let down by systemic failures and parole.
She said that as a result of her daughter’s tragic death, an unknown strength had emerged that ignited her passion to help others.
“Once something happens and you understand how much the justice system is failing, you want to make changes to that, you want other people who are going through something similar to know that it isn’t right,” she said.
“I’m passionate about helping other victims and their families, whether it’s to actively make change or to even just be that shoulder to cry on.
“Anyone can go to a counselling session, but when you meet someone who has experienced something similar, it’s a totally different feeling. They know straight away how you feel, and you know straight away how they feel”.
Upon accepting her certificate as part of the ‘Women Making It Happen’ campaign, Ms Dickson said it was “really lovely” to be recognised for her actions.
“I don’t do what I do for any sort of reward, I do it to help others and because it helps me keep Sarah alive, but sometimes you feel like you do so much and to find out that someone thinks you’re worthy of everything you do is very humbling”.
On the weekend prior to International Women’s Day, Ms Dickson took part in the ‘Walk with Her’ event held in Melton, where she spoke about Sarah’s story and urged people to take part in the conversation.
The event was one of many that Ms Dickson has spoken at and showed her support for.
As one of the faces of ‘Women Making It Happen’, she will continue to voice her passion and help make a stand for those who need it.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/healthpromotionatdjhs or by using #womenmakingithappen.