Bev Cooney – Chasing Dreams in Peru.
In 2003, Bev Cooney accomplished one of her lifelong dreams of travelling to Peru. When she booked and paid for her trip, little did she know that her life was about to change forever.
Bev had many adventures, walking the Inca trail, sailing Lake Titicaca, visiting untouched rainforests but the experience that was to change her life was a visit to a children’s hospital in Lima.
She was shocked at what she saw. The hospital ran with hardly any equipment, patients sleeping 10 to a room where we have 3 or 4. The doctor who showed her through the hospital spoke English and Bev asked him what she could do to help. He said “bring people to teach us”.
Bev agreed to do this and in 2004 she returned with a Paediatric Surgeon, an Anaesthetist and three nurses to work with a team of their doctors in Lima and then in Satipo, a jungle town in Peru.
What she saw there was truly life changing and was the beginning of the next chapter of her life.
She saw hundreds of children who were not allowed to go to school. This was particularly disturbing for her as she believed all children need education.
In 2005, Bev returned to Peru to look at how she could set up a school for disabled children. This changed the way Peru looked at disabilities.
In 2009 Bev was awarded a Merit of Honor medal by the President of Peru for the work she had done in Peru and in 2013 she was awarded an Order of Australia medal here in Australia.
She continues to return to Peru each year.
Bev is now a resident of Bathurst and a member of the Rotary Club of Bathurst, who supports her work in Peru with financial donations. A team from Bathurst will be travelling in 2020.
She volunteers two days a week at Bathurst Hospital, leading a group of volunteers called CHOPs – Confused Hospitalised Older Persons. This helps the nurses focus on the other patients while ensuring the patients with Dementia or Deliriums are safe.
If we focus on the good in our lives, we can do a lot of good.