Angel award recognises Val's work to help her sick husband

Val Courte with her husband Tom Courte of Casino at Lismore Base Hospital.
Val Courte with her husband Tom Courte of Casino at Lismore Base Hospital. Cathy Adams

CASINO woman Val Courte was recognised for her tireless work as carer for her sick husband yesterday with a Kidney Health Australia Operation Angel Award.

Mrs Courte has been caring for her husband of 43 years, Tom, since 2004 when he began hemodialysis at Lismore Base Hospital.

Mr Courte has had both legs partially amputated and significant health challenges since he started dialysis to treat his end-stage kidney failure.

To support her husband, Mrs Courte learned how to drive a car - after a lifetime of never driving - to take her husband from their home in Casino to his treatments in Lismore three times a week.

And her work doesn't end there. Always with Mr Courte during his sessions, the dialysis unit staff said that Mrs Courte never expects staff to do anything for Mr Courte that she could do herself.

In addition, it's a regular occurrence for her to help out or keep company with other patients and carers during their sessions.

Yesterday, Mrs Courte was thanked and admired by staff at Lismore Base Hospital for her dedication and inspirational actions.

Mr Courte said he was overjoyed that his hardworking and loving wife had been recogniSed for her endless work.

He also said she makes him feel like he is in heaven already with the care he gratefully receives.

Mrs Courte said she was very overwhelmed and, in fact, felt quite undeserving of the award.

However Lismore MP Thomas George, who has known the Courtes for many years, said he wasn't at all surprised, as caring for others is what Mrs Courte had always been about in life.

Kidney Health Australia's CEO Anne Wilson said the aim of the Operation Angel Award is to recogniSe the "unsung heroes of the kidney sector".

Nearly 11,000 Australians are on dialysis, more than 1000 are waiting for a trans- plant, and 54 die daily with kidney-related disease.


About Chronic Kidney Disease

  • 1 in 3 Australians is at an increased risk of developing the disease
  • Adult Australians are at an increased risk of CKD if they are 60 years or older, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, have diabetes, have a family history of kidney disease, have established heart problems (heart failure or past heart attack) and/or have had a stroke, have high blood pressure, are obese and/or are a smoker.
  • The three top causes of end-stage kidney disease in Australia are diabetes (35% of new cases), nephritis or inflammation of the kidney (23%) and hypertension (15%).


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