Vale Kerri Baker
Friday, 7th June, 2019
By Emily McInerney
Every October, locals will be able to remember Kerri Baker who pushed, with the help of a group of like-minded women, to have a whole month to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.
Kerri lost her battle with breast cancer on Sunday as the disease had made its way into her bones.
Kerri made a huge impact in the community with many awareness initiatives and ensuring the women of Broken Hill received the highest level of support.
She passed away peacefully on Sunday at the Broken Hill Hospital with family by her side.
She is survived by husband, David and children Ryan, Sammie, Geoff and Hayley.
Kerri is the daughter of Bob and Maxine Stoneman and the treasured nan of 12 grandchildren.
While being a staunch advocate for breast cancer awareness, Kerri also worked at the Department of Human Services.
Colleague Leanne Campbell said Kerri was a great person to work with.
“Kerri worked at Human Services for 29 years, she was a great colleague who was generous with her time and knowledge.
“She was a very passionate person who was involved in the community which was shown through community work.
“Kerri will be sadly missed.”
In 2012, Kerri was among a select group of rural and regional breast cancer survivors who gathered in Melbourne to become a Community Liaison with Breast Cancer Network Australia.
The special training program enabled women like Kerri to work with their local communities, raising awareness of breast cancer and how it affects women and families.
She organised Breast Cancer awareness events including BCNA’s “Mini-Field of Women” event, Look Good, Feel Better workshops, the Bakers Delight Pink Bun campaign and Pink October.
She attended many workshops and seminars around the state to help bring resources back for local women with breast cancer.
Kerri was instrumental in getting ‘Pink October’ off of the ground and organising the Pink Ball making the month what it is today.
CEO of Breast Cancer Network Australia Kirsten Pilatti said Kerri was one to stand up for the community.
“In every community you need someone to stand up and help others,” she said.
“Kerri, like so many others in the local Broken Hill community, was one of those people.
“Kerri Baker was instrumental in bringing about change for all those affected by breast cancer since 2012 through her work with Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).
“Our love and support to her family, particularly her husband David, and friends - you should be so proud of her contribution and know that everyone at BCNA will be forever grateful.”
Kerri’s son Ryan said her main ambition was to raise awareness about breast cancer.
“Her major contribution to the group was the Pink Ball, it happened twice; one was in 2014 and the other in 2016.
“Mum really prided herself on these events because it involved the community on a large scale and helped solidify October as Pink October.
“Weekends out at the Plaza helping make rosettes and sell pink t-shirts, she also served as a BCNA Liaison officer.
“This role meant she was organising and running programs like the Encore Program and the Look Good Feel Better workshops.”
Ryan said Kerri’s last months were full of wonderful experiences.
“The final months of Mum’s life were dedicated to planning a trip of a lifetime overseas to meet her brother Justin (as well as the rest of the gang from Ireland/London) who lived 10,000 miles from Broken Hill, in London.
“But Mum had never met Justin, the only communication they had prior to the trip was years of emailing each other.
“The trip was the only time Mum ever left the country so it was a new experience for all us (Dad and I went as well).
“It was a really unique experience getting to see siblings meet for the first time in their 40s.”
Ryan said the trip was something Kerri always wanted to do.
“I know Mum always dedicated her focus to Breast Cancer Awareness through the fundraising committee but family always came first, so the trip really helped her tie up some loose ends.
“We were extremely fortunate to be able do the trip when we did.”
Kerri’s family and friends are invited to attend a service in honour of her life at Fred J Potter and Son Chapel, Oxide Street, today from 10.30am.