Lynelle was born in Mount Isa and is a proud Waanyi woman with a strong connection to her grandfather’s country at Louie Creek. Her mother has an Aboriginal and Chinese background, and her father’s background is Torres Strait Islander, Japanese and Malay. Lynelle has spent the past 16 years in Mackay, Queensland.
The tragic loss of her brother to suicide at the age of 20 was the spark that inspired Lynelle to consider higher education and a professional career. The Mackay woman with a proud Indigenous heritage says that she was a stay-at-home mum with two children at the time of the family tragedy.
“My life came to an ultimate low. I was faced with a life choice to either stay down or move on. I decided I needed to live my life to the fullest for my brother,” said Lynelle. “I had always wanted to go to university, but this had always seemed an unattainable dream.”
“Working in the kitchen at the Mackay Base Hospital really cemented my love for a career within the health sector,” said Lynelle. “After I gave birth to my third baby, I started studying externally with CQUni doing the STEPS preparatory program, as I didn’t do grade 11 and 12.”
“I started and completed one year of Bachelor of Nursing with CQUni and was fascinated in learning human anatomy and physiology, so when I heard about the new Medical Imaging Program starting at CQUni, I knew that Radiography is what I wanted to do,” said Lynelle. “The opportunity was there, and I jumped on it.”
“I went on to do introductory chemistry, physics and biology with the Women Into Science and Technology (WIST) program at CQUni before starting the new Medical Imaging degree full-time on Mackay Campus,” said Lynelle. “It was during my first year of the Imaging program that I carried my fourth baby and gave birth about six weeks before the term two exams.”
“My family has made a financial sacrifice to support me in achieving my career goals,” said Lynelle. “My husband Cameron stopped work for three months to help look after the newborn baby girl plus the two boys and eldest girl. Cameron now works the night shift to allow me to attend university and attend Clinical placement during the day. He has been the best, and I could not have done it without him. I study a lot at night and into the early hours of the morning; I plan ahead, organise and prioritise all tasks.”
“What I love most about being a radiographer is caring for and helping patients when they come for imaging,” said Lynelle. “What makes the human body and how it works is absolutely amazing. I love that we can create different images of the inside of the body that the normal eye cannot see.”
“We really need more Indigenous radiographers, “said Lynelle. “There are very few Indigenous radiographers working in this field, and it would be even better for Indigenous women to learn to do mammography to encourage more of our mob to participate in breast screening.”
Lynelle graduated with her degree in 2014 and was offered a position with the organisation where she completed her final placement, which she accepted.
“I would love to become more involved with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and help contribute towards the ‘Close the Gap’ campaign to improve the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Lynelle. “When I feel emotionally strong enough to help others, I would also like to complete suicide prevention training with the Grapevine Group and Lifeline to help others and promote awareness.”