Wollongong Relay for Life committee chairperson Maree Kerr has recovered from last weekend's annual cancer fund-raiser in time for another important mission - in South Korea.
Ms Kerr is also general manager of Healthy Cities Illawarra and flies out tomorrow to speak to an international audience about the importance of sustainable healthy cities.
She has been invited to Wonju to present a paper to more than 200 delegates from the World Health Organisation and the Alliance for Healthy Cities Western Pacific Region.
The international event also includes many civic leaders, doctors and academics.
Ms Kerr has been asked to talk about healthy ageing and healthy taskforces.
Healthy Cities Illawarra is one of the oldest Healthy Cities organisations in the world.
The Healthy Cities movement was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1985.
"The following year, the Australian government sought applications from cities to pilot the Healthy Cities approach," Ms Kerr said.
"Canberra, Noarlunga in South Australia and the Illawarra were successful and Healthy Cities Illawarra was established in March 1987."
The Healthy Cities approach recognises that underlying social, economic and environmental conditions are critical to the ability of people to experience optimal health and well-being.
In 2003, with the support of the WHO Western Pacific Region, the Alliance for Healthy Cities was formed.
The alliance is hosting the event Ms Kerr will speak at and provides an opportunity for international exchange between Healthy Cities in the region.
It has grown rapidly and now has close to 200 cities.
The Western Pacific Region includes Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines and Vietnam.
"Healthy Cities Illawarra is a member of the Western Pacific Region Steering Committee and this gives me the chance to fly the flag and promote the Illawarra for all it has to offer," Ms Kerr said.
"All programs conducted by Healthy Cities Illawarra are targeted at grassroots level.
"To effect real change in the community, you need to work in the areas that you are needed the most.
"If we can educate and give skills to community members who can then, in turn, educate and up-skill other community members, then we are doing our job and our community grows."
Healthy Cities Illawarra works on a population health philosophy and conducts programs that deal with issues ranging from community nutrition and urban design to sexual health.
The many programs include a kitchen garden project, Coniston Men's Shed, child safety, environmental and physical activity projects.
Healthy Cities Illawarra is also involved in taskforces such as Tobacco Control, Active Transport, Food Fairness Illawarra and administers the Play Illawarra website.
"Healthy Cities Illawarra focuses its programs on building a healthy city and a healthy Illawarra," Ms Kerr said.
"The outcomes would not be possible without the continual collaboration of other community organisations."