Minniti named local hero

Josie Minniti. Picture Shawn Smits

Tara Murray

Northern Health Foundation patron Josie Minniti has been named one of three Plenty Valley Westfield Local Heroes.

‘Westfield Local Heroes’ is a recognition and awards program that discovers and celebrates individuals who make a positive impact to their local community.

Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with winners awarded a $10,000 grant for their chosen charity.

Mrs Minniti has chosen to donate her grant to Northern Health, with the grant contributing towards the purchase of an EBUS machine for the respiratory department.

Mrs Minniti has dedicated more than 20 years to fundraising for cancer services and strives to make a difference to the lives of patients, something very dear to her heart with her own family dealing with cancer.

“This is an amazing achievement, not just for me, but for the Northern Health respiratory department and their patients,” Mrs Minniti said.

“I’m very grateful to Westfield and every person who voted for me because I know many people did, so I’m truly appreciative.

“Thank you to Northern Health Foundation for their amazing support, the dedicated staff at Northern Health, my fundraising group and everyone in the community – it’s not just about me, it’s about everyone.”

The other two winners were Maddie Francis and Deborah Henry.

Ms Francis was recognised for her work with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Mercy Hospital.

She created NICU Cheer in 2016 with a goal of bringing some joy to parents spending Christmas Day in the NICU. NICU Cheer will be able to expand its service to all five of the tertiary level NICUs across Melbourne and add more delivery days due to the $10,000 grant.

Ms Henry set up From Us 2 Youth nearly six years ago after her community services studies opened her eyes to the struggles people face.

Three nights a week, homeless people in Melbourne can look forward to a feast of prawns and steak, cooked with love by Deborah Henry and her dedicated volunteers.

“They call me mum or street mum. I love it,” Ms Henry says.