Steph Hryschko said she was stunned to receive the honour for her work with Kiveton Park and Wales Community Trust.
“I had to keep pinching myself,” said the 60-year-old from Kiveton. “It’s such an honour.”
Steph was a teacher in Cumbria 20 years ago when she was diagnosed with the brain tumour that would change everything.
“I loved teaching, but when the tumour started to affect my eyesight and memory I knew I couldn’t continue,” she said.
Having won her health battle, Steph moved back to her South Yorkshire roots and looked for something to fill the void teaching left behind.
In 1998 she went to an event where she met the Community Development Trust team.
By the time she went home that afternoon, she was their secretary.
Fifteen years on Steph is chair, putting in 60-hour weeks, all unpaid.
“We get to make a real difference,” she said. “I’ve always treated it as a job, giving it that same commitment.”