However, Val still finds time to keep involved with the �Art of Ageing� group in Joondalup, which she helped start with her friend Pat Geary some years ago, and she continues her volunteer work as a co-ordinator and senior story- teller with the Wanneroo Joondalup Tales of Times Past group.
�We visit local schools in the Wanneroo and Joondalup districts and talk to children about what life was like when we were growing up,� Val said.
�The kids are fascinated with the lifestyle differences, and they always want to know what it was like to get the cane in the �olden days�. I bring a cane when I visit schools, so the children can see what one looked like.�
Although Val has enjoyed her community service, she knows she is very lucky to have lived past 40. At 39 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, following a bout of severe illness.
�I was told I had cervical cancer on the Friday and found myself on the operating table on the Monday,� she said. �I was very lucky. The surgeons got all the cancer, and despite a tough few weeks� recovery, I have been OK since.
�My weight dropped to four stone four ounces (25.5kg).�
Val said it was very important for women to have regular Pap smears, which pick up early signs that could point to cervical cancer. The WA Cancer Council agrees.
The council advises that cervical cancer is highly preventable and recommends women be vaccinated against HPV and to have regular cervical screening. Regular cervical screening saves more than 1200 women a year from the cancer.
Val, who is a registered Cancer Survivor with the WA Cancer Council�s Relay for Life Joondalup Wanneroo, will be back at this year�s relay, which will be held at Arena Joondalup on the October 17-18 weekend.
Meanwhile, the Joondalup Wanneroo organising committee is seeking more teams to take part in the 24-hour event, which raises funds to assist the Cancer Council with its research and support programs.
For more information on how to join or form a Relay for Life team, call 0417 922 726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.