By any measure Aboriginal elder Aunty Pam Pederson is a remarkable woman.
The daughter of Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls and Lady Nicholls and has continued her father’s legacy of community service, placing the happiness and health of others before her own. As an Elder she sits sitting on the various Koorie Courts in Melbourne, a position she has held since 2005.
At the age of 50 Aunty Pam decided she was putting on a little too much weight and took up running. One of the first events she tried out her newly purchased running shoes at was the very first Mother’s Day Classic.
Some 20 years later she is yet to miss a start line, or fail to reach the finish line. In 2016 the event she had grown to love took on far greater significance when just before Mother’s Day she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I’m a very pragmatic person, so once I was diagnosed it became about what steps I had to follow to get well,” the 74-year-old said.
Arriving on that chilly Melbourne morning Aunty Pam made her way to the start line, as she crested the hill in the Botanic Gardens she took in the scene below. Children running for their mother’s or grandmothers, signs showing those battling breast cancer that they were loved and supported, tributes to people lost far too soon.
It was at that moment Aunty Pam’s own battle hit her.
“That was the only time during the entire process I got emotional. Just seeing all those people there supporting and remembering people made me feel loved. It made me feel like I was not battling alone. It was a wonderful feeling,” she said.
Simply spending the afternoon with Aunty Pam is an enormously educational and exhausting process in equal measure.
She is simply a whirlwind of activity and inspirational ideas, she doesn’t look at the world and think what can I do to help, she looks at and thinks what am I doing today and what will I do tomorrow.