WA Senior of the Year Kathleen Mazzella remembers too well the isolation and lack of information when she was diagnosed with a rare female cancer 20 years ago.
The ordeal inspired her to raise awareness of women's health and to remove the stigma of the subject.
"When I was diagnosed, I went to all the different groups and there was nobody sharing about gynaecological health and I ended up feeling so alone," Ms Mazzella, 61, of Morley, said.
"There's all this fear and anxiety about gynae health which is intriguing because it's where life begins and it affects so many women and their husbands so I thought 'let's do something about it'."
Since then, Ms Mazzella has raised the profile of gynaecological conditions through the Gynaecological Awareness Information Network, which she founded 12 years ago. She also set up International Gynae Awareness Day on September 10 each year.
Ms Mazzella was recognised for her work at the WA Seniors Awards yesterday, when she also received the beyondblue Inspiration Award for Wellbeing.Seniors Minister Robyn McSweeney praised Ms Mazzella's work and said it was a fitting award.