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  • Book by Woman of the Year Koenig explores power of caring

    2019 - 07.22

    Power of the written word: Cheryl, Jonathan and Robert Koenig have a history of caring. Picture: Sam VennTHE 2009 Woman of the Year, Cheryl Koenig, 55, of Menai, has a connection to caring that harks back to before she was born.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Her father Frici, 84, and her father-in-law, Istvan, 87, were both full-time carers, and survived Hitler’s occupation of Romania during the Second World War.

    Mrs Koenig’s latest book, With Just One Suitcase, is a homage to Istvan and Frici’s optimism in the face of adversity.

    It has a caring element, which has helped Mrs Koenig overcome challenges in her own life.

    Mrs Koenig was diagnosed with cancer of the immune system a few years ago, and her husband Robert, 59, is her full-time carer.

    He also now helps Mrs Koenig care for their son Jono, 30, who suffered brain damage in an accident when he was 12.

    “I started to write the book when I got sick and it was going to be short stories about remarkable post-World War II immigrants,” Mrs Koenig said.

    “Because I got given this timeline of a couple of weeks or a couple of months to live, I literally had sand slipping between my fingers and I had to get this story told about the extraordinary connection between our two fathers.”

    Mrs Koenig’s father-in-law was put into a forced labour camp when he was 16 where he was put in a one-cubic metre box for days at a time.

    “I asked him, ‘my God, how did you survive?’ and he said . . . ‘Cheryl, you only have one choice: you must just choose to survive’.

    “When I keep packing this one little suitcase [for hospital], I think of that, and I choose to be a survivor like Frici and Istvan.”

    Mr Koenig’s parents cared for his sister, who died from a neurological disease.

    Mrs Koenig’s father cared for her mother — former mayor of Hurstville, Joan Loew— during the last 10 years of her life.

    Mrs Koenig is on the NSW Carers Advisory Council and received an OAM in 2014 for service to people with disabilities, their families and carers.

    She is a Brain Injury Association life member and an ambassador of Sutherland Shire Carer Support Service.

    Jono holds four jobs but still needs help with simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

    Minister for Ageing and Disability, John Ajaka, will launch With Just One Suitcase at a gala fundraiser being held at 6.30pm on Friday, June 19,at The Grand Roxy, Brighton-Le-Sands.

    The launch raises money for Sutherland Shire Carer Support Service.

    Tickets are $130 or $1500 (corporate table of 10). RSVP by Tuesday,

    May 19, to Cheryl Koenig, [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 or 0421258379.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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