By DAISY TANIOVA PAWA
ANDREA Niblet, a feisty Filipina, who goes out of her way to get things done, was stumped with a bill of K2,300 for Customs clearance and storage fees.
The bill was for 25 cartons of health products that were donated in the middle of last year by an international health and beauty company, LR Health and Beauty Systems, from Germany.
As a member of LR, Mrs Niblet had written to the Australian office for a donation of Aloe gel and other health products for the cancer patients at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae.
When the goods arrived and she went to collect them, she was confronted with the bill.
She produced the letter from the company stating that the goods were for charity but she was told that she had to produce a letter from the health office or the office of the Government before the goods could be exempted from charges.
“Ignorance of the law does not excuse anyone,” she admitted.
Mrs Niblet took it in stride and went about settling the bill and having the goods delivered to the cancer unit at Angau.
Andrea and husband Dr John Niblet had returned to PNG last May after leaving the country 23 years ago.
Dr Niblet, co-founder of the PNG Cancer Society, was invited to return and work as the radiation oncologist because PNG had been without one for 15 years.
Back then, Mrs Niblet was the hospital’s welfare officer and she had made quite an impact then, as she is doing now.
Mrs Niblet had taken it upon herself to become the special needs coordinator for the cancer patients.
In her 60s, but with looks that could make her seem 20 years younger, Mrs Niblet does not let age be a barrier.
She is currently the vice-president for Global Affairs with the Filipino community’s council of Australia and president of the Filipinos council of Australia in Western Australia.
As the special needs coordinator, Mrs Niblet tries to ensure that cancer patients have a nutritious diet so that they can be able to support the healing process of the treatment they receive.
She said the cancer regime was a long process and it would require two to three months of stay in the hospital, if patients did not have relatives in Lae to reside with.
When this happens, patients are stranded in the wards, without proper nutrition to speed up the healing process, and other essential items that they would need.
Mrs Niblet said it was hard enough for the patients to be suffering from cancer and she wanted to make their lives bearable and comfortable while they completed their treatment.
Mrs Niblet tries to fill that gap in her role as the special needs coordinator and her efforts have gained her recognition.
She was honoured with a certificate of appreciation from the board of management of Angau late last year.
Every week, Mrs Niblet has been distributing coffee, tea, sugar, milk, biscuits, shampoo, tooth paste and other items to cancer patients.
These items were either purchased from the Niblet’s own pocket or from the sales of clothes and other household items that she sells to raise money for the patients.