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Community Award Finalists

9 December 2019 |Community

Community Award Finalists

9 December 2019 |Community
The finalists in this year's Do Good Awards represent the best of Australia.

They are the custodians for community spirit and make everyone of us proud. Join us in celebrating what it means to Do Good by sharing their stories.

These are the first of our Do Good Community finalists stories. We will bring more over the coming weeks. Winners will be announced February 3rd 2020.

Do Good Community Finalists

Meet Rebecca Picone, our first finalist to be recognised two years running for her tireless community work and for establishing the Peace of Mind Foundation, a not-for-profit that supports people affected by brain cancer.

Rebecca Picone
Rebecca Picone

Through personal experience Rebecca knows brain cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for people under 40 and that very little support is available for people affected by the disease.

Peace of Mind is raising awareness and funds, and providing support programs for families and sufferers. To date her efforts fundraising and successful grants total more than $682,000. The Support Group provides financial and in-home support and annual women’s, men’s and family retreats.

The Foundation has grown, providing support nationwide with Bec on call 24/7. She is acknowledged as a leader in her field, was invited to attend the Brain Cancer Support Conference in the UK in 2017 and more recently, the World Brain Tumour Summit for Patient Advocates in Washington. She is also recognised locally as an emerging leader.

Rebecca Picone is a single mum and a shining light.

Gerry Gillespie is a pioneer of the organics resource industry and has dedicated his life to environmentally responsible land management.

Gerry Gillespie
Gerry Gillespie

He has positively impacted many lives by sharing his extensive knowledge on organic resource recovery, their reuse in soil, and broader environmental issues. Well regarded here and internationally Gerry has influenced and educated governments, industry bodies, communities and NGOs. Recently he authored a discussion paper on the benefits of a national recycling organic waste program.

Around 70% of the material in Australia‘s waste streams is organic material – the total of our waste streams is 69 million tonnes. Australia has 455 million hectares under agriculture and of this 75% has less than 1% organic material – Gerry advocates that all of our organic material should be returned to soils as quality products therefore completing the nature’s life cycle.

‘Gerry has worked tirelessly for over 25 years educating people about soil health and soil regeneration. He has been trying to change attitudes and convince organisations in positions of influence to stop wasting food organics in landfill (adding methane gas to the atmosphere) and instead use the valuable nutrients it has to boost soil health,’ says Josie Grenfell, owner of the Little Waste Co. and finalist in the Do Good Business Award category.

Gerry has never wavered in his belief that we can create a sustainable future for ourselves and the planet. He is a true eco warrior.

Lindsay O’Conner might be humble and unassuming but he doesn’t miss a trick. He always has an eye on his community and quietly jumps in to solve problems and lend a hand. Rachel Russell, the woman responsible for his nomination, has an extraordinary story to tell.

Rachel is a full-time carer for her husband, a veteran. Several years ago they were new to their community so made do with what they had. One of their issues was the concrete tank that fed water to the house didn’t have any handles on the lid so they used a crow bar to access it. Lindsay, the water delivery operator, noticed this and rather than discussing how they might fix the problem, he swung by on his day off and attached handles to the lid.

In the middle of winter, the pump stopped working on the tank and Rachel was not strong enough to manage the lid. There were no plumbers available and her husband had suffered a stroke. When Lindsay got word he dropped by, with tea cake, and sorted the problem over several visits.

During those visits he noticed there was no firewood and it was bitterly cold so he rallied his mates, borrowed a truck and came back with more than enough wood for the season.

Lindsay is one of those rare people that asks for nothing and gives everything in return. He understands that many people can’t ask but that doesn’t mean they don’t need. He has a big heart and tonnes of compassion, he’s also a quiet achiever who takes on the responsibly to do what he can to make a difference for others.

Ange Liston-McCaughley knows how devastating a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes can be, particularly for kids. The implications are far-reaching for families who often feel alone in trying to manage the disease.

Ange has established a not-for-profit, the Type 1 Foundation that supports families and their children who have been impacted by the disease enabling them to feel connected and part of a group of people experiencing similar challenges.

Through the Foundation she organises a ranges events for the families, including camping trips for the kids, trivia nights, cooking classes, parent dinners and more. She also organises care packages that are sent to newly diagnosed children.

Ange recognises when a child is diagnosed, it can be a very lonely time: this is something she experienced when her daughter was first diagnosed and she doesn’t want anyone else to feel the way she did. She has been described as an inspiration by her community and demonstrates a passion and commitment to helping others deal with this chronic disease.

After a stroke two years ago Donna Lauder found she was no longer able to speak and had to use an iPad to communicate. This was devastating.

It has taken her some time to come to terms with her new normal and is now an advocate for communication accessibility.

She is now sharing her journey with others through various organisations such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Western Health and Northern Health in greater Melbourne. She has also become involved in training staff and large groups providing communication strategies to support people who are unable to speak. These sessions raise awareness and motivate people to develop skills to improve interactions and inspire confidence for people with communication difficulties and those they communicate with.

Pat Cleggett has been a member volunteer with the Partners of Veterans Association Inc. for almost 20 years.

Pat Cleggett
Pat Cleggett

Her husband of 40 years, Rod, is a totally and permanently disabled Vietnam Veteran. Through her own personal experience Pat understands the importance of providing support to assist in the welfare, health and special needs of partners of veterans and their families.

Despite the challenges Pat and Rod face in their own lives, Pat has worked tirelessly to support others within this unique community. Her roles within the organisation have varied; as a welfare officer Pat would visit war widows and veterans providing information and access to support services, she has also taken on leadership roles including NSW Branch Secretary, NSW Vice President and National Secretary.

More recently Pat is a volunteer Board member for a committee tasked with establishing ‘The Newcastle Beacon’, a proposed drop-in centre for veterans and first responders.

Brandon Dellow, 22, is an advocate for mental health, cultural diversity, equal opportunity, human rights, education, the community and Type 1 Diabetes. That’s a lot to take on for a young man, but Brandon has his eyes and heart wide open.

Brandon Dellow
Brandon Dellow

Having suffered from anxiety and depression during his school years, Brandon used his illness to raise awareness while finishing Dux in his Year 12 studies and winning the 2018 Barwon Mental Health Awareness Award. Today he supports others through one-on-one tutoring and works within his community to dispel the negative perceptions of some of the poorer sections of his community.

This led him to host a charity event, The Hope for Humanity Dinner, raising more than $5,000 to support Syrian refugees. A passionate humanitarian, Brandon participates in a vast number of community awareness initiatives such as LGBTIQ rights, climate change, violence against women, homelessness, Autism and fundraising for Samaritan House. His most recent venture is Streetface that aims to raise awareness about workplace and community safety.

Brandon is also a volunteer with Humans in Geelong, a community organisation formed by Jacqui Bennett, winner of the 2017 Do Good Community Award. Brandon is their resident IT expert, chief choreographer and multi-cultural writer.


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