Crash survivor finds calling in helping others

A horrific motorbike crash which left an Ipswich mum with a brain injury and unable to continue work has inspired her to give back to others in their vulnerable time of need.

With real life experience in the challenges of recovering from injury, Paulien Robinson volunteers at Mater Private Hospital Springfield to bring comfort and joy to cancer patients.

“Not all patients have visitors, so I provide hand and foot massages for them, and sometimes just provide them with company,” Paulien said.

“It’s important to me because I have been there and experienced what it’s like to be in hospital for a long time.”

Paulien was a security risk and education advisor at Queensland Rail when a truck collided with her motorbike on the Gateway Motorway in 2019.

She was left with a traumatic brain injury and multiple bone fractures to her wrist, ribs and ankle. Her lungs were punctured, and her pelvis was smashed.

“My body has healed but my brain injury has kept me at home,” she said. “I have memory issues and experience cognitive fatigue if I do too much."

“Volunteering at Mater Private Hospital Springfield brings me great joy and is a way that I feel I’m giving back and staying connected with the community.”

Mater Senior Manager of Volunteers Judy Johnson said Ms Robinson’s volunteering role may be a world away from her former career, but she was making a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

“Volunteers can engage one-on-one with patients by simply having a chat or helping them with a practical need,” Judy said.

“It’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to give your time to help other people.”

Judy said the Cancer Care Centre at Mater Private Hospital Springfield was always looking for volunteers, including ward assistants.

Paulien said she was grateful to have found her calling.

“I smile when I get up every day,” she said.

“Thirty seconds either way and that truck would have killed me.”

For more information about volunteering at Mater visit

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