FOR more than a decade Gayle Daetz has spent countless hours volunteering her time to help others in need.
It's this selfless attitude and will to provide a helping hand wherever possible that landed her the coveted Volunteer of the Year Award during the Lockyer Valley's Australia Day awards ceremony last week.
Gayle received the award particularly for her efforts towards the formation and support of the Lockyer Valley/Brisbane Valley Leukaemia Branch and her efforts in raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland.
It's an award Gayle said she never expected, nor sought to achieve, but one which she'll treasure.
"It was just so unexpected," she said.
"I knew I was nominated along with a lot of others but when Steve Jones called my name out I was shocked.
"Just to be nominated and to think I had made a difference in other people's lives was (an achievement in itself)."
Gayle's long and decorated history of volunteering for the Leukaemia Foundation has deep and emotional roots of which has shaped and inspired her fundraising efforts.
"My son Jody was diagnosed in March of 1993 with Leukaemia and he was in Year 12 at Laidley State High school when he was diagnosed," she said.
"After he was diagnosed it was straight down to the hospital to start treatment because they said if he didn't get there he only had two weeks left."
Gayle admitted that until her 17-year-old son was diagnosed she had never heard of the cancer but was quick to learn and do her best caring for Jody.
"When he was first diagnosed I didn't really know anything about leukaemia at all," she said.
"Because there was nowhere to stay and because we lived so far out he had to stay in the hospital for nine months down at the Mater Hospital for his initial treatment until he came home in November of 1993."
Following his release from hospital Gayle said Jody was keen to pick up where he left off.
"He went back the following year and redid Year 12 and got his HSC," she said.
However, before long Jody's leukaemia returned.
"He was fine until August of 1997 when it came back and he had a bone marrow transplant but with everything else that goes along with it, it finally took its toll and on May 10, 1999, he passed away," she said.
Gayle said the Leukaemia Foundation provided much- needed support during the difficult time.
After losing Jody, Gayle joined the Ipswich Branch of the Leukaemia Foundation and after volunteering there for six years formed the Lockyer Valley/Brisbane Valley Branch in May 2005.
"I thought with all the other branches around at the time like Ipswich, Toowoomba, Warwick and Stanthorpe, I thought the Lockyer and Somerset were really missing out on having a branch here," she said.
Gayle was president of the group for nine years before relinquishing her role in the 2014 AGM.
Throughout her time with the Lockyer Valley/Brisbane Valley Leukaemia Foundation Branch Gayle estimated about $50,000- $75,000 was raised with about $300,000 raised through the World's Greatest Shave fundraising efforts.
Gayle has also volunteered at information and tourism centres in both Gatton and Fernvale.
After leaving the Lockyer Valley/Brisbane Valley Leukaemia Foundation Branch Gayle started Team J and J with friend Kate Collins, and continues to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland.