Rayís life wish was to help anyone in need. When he was awoken by a smoke alarm in his apartment building, Ray immediately got his daughter and grandson outside. He then returned to the burning building several times to ensure all his neighbours were safe, including an elderly neighbour who needed assistance from an upper level. When everyone was safe and Ray had spoken to emergency personnel, he sat down nearby and passed away. A family friend said: "It was an extremely sad loss but the family has the knowledge that Ray went out a hero, saving lives and helping people, which is how he lived his life."
Michael was a SCAT Paramedic who was called out to rescue an injured canyoner near Carrington Falls, south of Sydney. He was lowered into the canyon and secured the man in the basket before preparing himself and the man to be winched back to the helicopter. As they left the ground Michael and the basket were then thrown against the rocks violently. Michael placed himself between the basket and the rock wall, sustaining severe injuries. The man was lifted to safety but Michael could not be winched up. His line was cut and he died at the scene.
Born with spina bifida, Shanon spent the first five years of his life in hospital and was confined to a wheelchair at age 11. He has had over 80 operations, mainly neurological, throughout his life. But he has remained positive, representing Australia in wheelchair racing and winning over 100 gold medals. He has been a peer support officer and educator for people with spinal cord injuries and now works with people with intellectual disabilities whilst completing his studies to become a personal trainer.
Daniel Clarke suffers from cerebral palsy but it hasnít stopped from him from striving to fulfil his dream of saving the natural habitat of the orang-utans of Borneo. His little brother William has joined Daniel on the crusade and have already raised $600,000 on the way to a goal of $1 million. They created their own book Tears In The Jungle, which is being used as a study resource in many NSW schools. They have lobbied politicians and appeared on TV programs. They are also working towards addressing the United Nations.
John knows the name of just about every homeless person and desperate family in the Tweed area of northern NSW. He was a computer analyst until his wife became ill and he retired. His charity You Have A Friend was founded after stopping to chat to a few homeless people. Eight years on, he has an op-shop, three vans and 70 volunteers working on a full schedule of providing cooked breakfasts and hot dinners on the streets around the Tweed.
Born in Egypt, Steve came to Australia at age 14. He volunteers two days a week at Mary Macís Place in Woy Woy, helping to provide meals and welfare support for the homeless and disadvantaged. His efforts to play a major role in his community continues with another two days of volunteer work with Meals On Wheels, which he has performed for the last seven years.
Having completed her degree at university, Georgina looked forward to a burgeoning career as a psychologist. But when she met six determined young women, all blind, who wished to represent their country, Georgina put her career on hold to coach the goalball team. Australia has not had a goalball team qualify in their own right for the Paralympic Games in 16 years. Georgina inspired the team to lift their world ranking from unranked to top 10 in just four years, qualifying for the 2012 London Games.
At 86, Marcia is still a voluntary Pink Lady working at Blacktown District Hospital, a role she has performed admirably for 43 years. She has never taken any time off or holidays during her stint. Marcia is at the hospital early every Wednesday, looking after the sterilizing equipment. She has knitted clothes and rugs for premature babies, cooked cakes for the hospital fete, washed patientsí hair when they were unable to do so themselves. She remains passionate in her care of all those patients who need a little bit of help.
In 2010, while studying for his HSC, Mitchell was a co-ordinator for the Moree Relay for Life, chairperson of the Moree Plains Shire Youth Council and a member of the NSW Youth Advisory Council. He has continued his community involvement since and is now the chairperson of the Drug Action Team, treasurer of Moree Menís Shed and a member of the Crime Prevention Committee. He is the community engagement officer in Moree, working closely with the local indigenous community, and was a member of the first National Indigenous Youth Parliament in Canberra last year.
Born with cystic fibrosis, Ayla battled the lung condition through her early childhood years with regular exercise but also used a nebuliser each day to help with her breathing. In 2010, she became very ill when her lungs began to fail and was placed on a unique life support system to help circulate the blood. She was on the system for 57 days, believed to be an Australian record, before a double lung transplant. She has shown great resilience to return to school but still undergoes hours of rehab. She is also happy to tell her story whenever needed to raise awareness for organ donation.