When Paula Hatten heads to the Cancer Society and Gisborne Hospital to volunteer her time and talents to help survivors and those with terminal illness, the last thing on her mind is recognition.
But that’s just what this mother of one got when she received a Gisborne Citizens Civic Award merit certificate.
The EIT Tairawhiti Certificate of Sport and Health Massage graduate lost both her parents to cancer within a year. That same year she established her business Float Away and months later headed to the hospital to offer her services.
“It is lovely work,” she says. “It is enjoyable and I have met some wonderful people. I have met many people that have recovered and moved on with life, but I’ve also seen a lot of people pass and it is nice to help them on their spiritual journey.”
As well as weekly visits to the cancer society, Hatten also visits those who can’t leave their own homes and also heads to the hospital wards.
“I just wanted to give something back. I was quite blown away to receive an award like this.”
Hatten started her pathway in the industry in 1991 when she learnt relaxation massage in Greece. She has every intention of more study to add to her growing list of qualifications.
Hatten trained with EIT tutor Nancy Kahalewai, a pioneer in the industry who has been internationally applauded for her work. Kahalewai had high praise for her student.
“Paula is so professional and willing to give,” she says. “It’s great that she has been recognised like this.”