Always ready to support a cause

Eden’s Stephanie Rawlings is not one to turn her back on a good cause. 

Mrs Rawlings is known as the captain for the Eden Ragers Relay for Life team and is constantly fundraising and rallying support for the Cancer Council. 

Last year the Relay for Life team raised $30,000 towards their cause. 

Mrs Rawlings has been a volunteer at the Eden Whale Museum for more than 20 years and enjoys helping at the town’s most memorable icon. 

“I just enjoy helping out,” she said. 

“Over the years I’ve done a bit of everything from helping paint panels to helping with exhibitions,” Mrs Rawlings said. 

“I’m not as involved as I used to be but I still find it to be an enjoyable job.” 

Mrs Rawlings is now the exhibit director at the Whale Museum and helps liaise with committee on the success of exhibits. 

The 59-year-old, originally from Bryon Bay, moved to Eden in the 1970’s. 

“We moved from Bairnsdale because I just couldn’t get used to the fluctuating weather there and so we moved here,” she said. 

“Once we got to Eden my husband went back to fishing and I just needed to have a project so I started volunteering.” 

The Rawlings moved to the region with a combined family made up of her husband’s children and her own children from a previous relationship. 

While many of the children have grown-up and moved abroad, four of Mrs Rawlings’ children still live in Eden with children of their own now. 

Always keen to help a worthy cause this year, Mrs Rawlings was involved in a world-wide project to raise awareness of Autism.

“I found this project because I belong to a photography group on Facebook that gives you a monthly challenge to take a photo of something,” Mrs Rawlings said. 

“One of the ladies in that group became involved in the ‘Hey there Delilah’ project and I thought I could bring this doll to Eden.” 

The ‘Hey there Delilah’ project is centered on a seven-year-old Brooklyn girl called Delilah who lost her doll, Clawdeen, in 2013. 

Delilah has autism and her mother had great difficulty explaining the doll would not return, so she told a white lie that Clawdeen was taking a round the world trip and started the “Hey there Delilah” project with the help of Facebook. 

A look-a-like Clawdeen doll was sent around the world to be photographed and with the help of Mrs Rawlings the doll visited Eden. 

“The project became so big there were six separate dolls going in different directions around the world,” Mrs Rawlings said. 

“We had some great fun with Clawdeen, taking photos of her out and about in Eden.”

Mrs Rawlings has two grandchildren who have Autism and learnt a lot from being involved in the project. 

“When we see a mum with a child in the shopping centre throwing a tantrum –it might not be a normal tantrum so just don’t judge.”

On February 26 Delilah will turn eight and one of the Clawdeen dolls that recently visited Adelaide and Tasmania will return to Brooklyn as a present. 

“It’s been really lovely to be involved in something like this project, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” 

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