Sue’s twenty years of helping western Sydney fight breast cancer

Sue Hamill is retiring after more than 20 years with Westmead Breast Cancer Institute.

After starting her career at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute (BCI) over 20 years ago, Susan ‘Sue’ Hamill has listened at the bedsides of patients as they’ve faced the toughest battle of their lives.

Now Sue, a Strategic Operations Director, has made one of the toughest decisions of her life – moving to retirement.

“As much as I love the work, I think I will miss my colleagues the most.” Sue said.

“We aren’t blood related, but many of them are family to me. It’s hard because my head is telling me it’s time to retire but my heart is telling me to stay.”

Sue with BCI executive director Associate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan.

Sue says it’s her drive and passion to improve the patient experience that kept her working in Western Sydney for more than two decades – helping women fight breast cancer.

“The team here is next to none. The dedication and passion of everyone involved continues to inspire me, even 20 years down the track!”

Sue has overseen great change through the BCI, with a career highlight being the establishment of the ‘Sunflower Clinics’ – a seven-day-a-week access to free breast screening mammograms.

“We opened eight clinics in eight months,” Sue reflected.

“Being a patient, you want to be in a comfortable environment and go somewhere that doesn’t feel like a hospital.

“That’s what we tried to do with the Sunflower Clinics. We want women to feel like they are coming into a home.”

To celebrate her rewarding career, Sue’s colleagues put on a morning tea this week to farewell their friend.

Executive director of the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Associate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan said Sue will be missed, particularly as she was so approachable and generous with her time.

“Sue made time to go and speak to patients and hear their stories and address their concerns.

“She has been a long standing supporter and driver of the holistic model of care that we have at Westmead’s Breast Cancer Institute.

“Sue has been a powerful advocate, committed to ensuring that patient care is co-ordinated and demystified for all patients,” said A/Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan.

Sue with Dr Farid Meybodi.

Although sad to be leaving her colleagues, Sue said she is excited for the adventures that await her.

“We have a motorhome and we are going glamping!” Sue reflected.

“Assuming all goes well and borders remain open, my husband and I are going to drive to Western Australia to visit our daughter.”

“We have three daughters, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, so I am sure we will never run out of things to do!”

Good luck in your retirement Sue and thank you for your commitment to Western Sydney Local Health District and western Sydney.