Everyone calls her “Smiley”, but for Sigrid “Siggie” Cornelio, volunteering at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is all about helping people.
Siggie started volunteering with Lifehouse in 2015 following a life-threatening car accident. What she enjoys most about volunteering is that “I know what is serious and what isn’t because I’ve been through a life-threatening situation myself… I sit down with the patients and we have a cup of tea and we talk and it’s more that they can talk and be natural with themselves.”
While volunteering at Lifehouse, Siggie became interested in sharing the “life-affirming pleasures of home” and has started collecting recipes for a cookbook. Inspired by her own experience in hospital, Siggie said “I was in hospital for a long time and when I came home, I thought, ‘OK, I just want to start cooking again’. I have always been a big cook and cooked all the time. I thought I would start by making the pizza that my dad used to make every Saturday night and it brought back all of these memories”.
More than just a compilation of recipes, all the recipes collected have stories to go with them, and as Siggie said, “it is the power of these memories that can give you strength to keep going through what you’re going through. It’s a healing process, sharing beautiful memories of your loved ones.”
Contributing a couple of her own recipes such as her father’s pizza recipe and her family tiramisu recipe that Siggie says keeps everyone wanting seconds; Siggie said that she can’t wait to try all the recipes. “All the recipes in the book are someone’s memory and are pretty special so they need to be treated with the respect they deserve”.
While it will probably be a year until the book is published, Siggie says that “The cook book is all about those life affirming pleasures and the making of memories and makes you happy and for me I find that a healing process”.