SHE has refused to let a battle with agressive cancer stop her from working and last month, this dedicated Griffith woman was honoured in a heart-warming ceremony for 30 years of service to a local supermarket.
Ilva Tesser recently finished a six-month course of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer and will need another operation to remove the tumour, but a gala dinner celebrating Coles’ longest serving employees provided a welcome boost to her spirits.
Mrs Tesser, 75, was overwhelmed by the lengths the company went to in honouring loyal staff.
“I didn’t want to travel all the way to Sydney because I wasn’t feeling very well. Once I got there, I got lost in the terrific atmosphere,” Mrs Tesser said.
“I have been steadily cutting my hours down ... but I want to keep working, even if it is for just a few hours per week because I love it.”
Mrs Tesser’s twin, Diva Cummings, who was invited as a guest, said the honour meant the world to her sister.
“She was thrilled to have been recognised for her service, it was very humbling for her,” Mrs Cummings said.
“Ilva has worked at Coles for 30 years and is a very hard and diligent worker.”
Mrs Tesser has handed in her resignation twice because of her illness, but the local Coles refused to accept it, keeping her on the books for when she is well enough to return.
Local Coles store manager Tanya Harrison said Mrs Tesser was a fantastic lady who was well-loved at the supermarket.
“Ilva is a great character that makes you laugh every time she’s in the store and we couldn’t speak more highly of her,” Ms Harrison said.
“We were able to bring the celebration of her 30 years of service forward a few months because of her illness and her whole family was very thankful, which shows how nice they all are.”