The Thorpe family were on their way home when a crash occurred in front of them on the Kwinana Freeway. The crumpled car was ablaze and a young girl was caught behind the front passenger seat. Michael and Dee-Anne attempted to free the girl unsuccessfully – before Michael climbed into the car and managed to free her just seconds before flames engulfed the car. Dee-Anne, with the help of the girl’s brother, pulled her from the wreckage and sat holding her until help arrived. The girl suffered a broken leg, fractured pelvis and burns.
Helen has been described as a courageous mother with the most enormous strength of character and determination. In late 2011, while holidaying in Karajini National Park, her husband plunged to his death trying to save their son, Patrick. Devastated by her loss, Helen did not once lose focus on her three young children, staying by Patrick’s side for four weeks while he was in a coma and learning to care for her son who was paralysed in the accident. Helen has inspired all by her determination to give her children a normal life, and has not once faltered in her determination to help Patrick walk again one day.
Michael became a volunteer for the St John Ambulance Service looking after a stretch of highway near Port Hedland. One incident saw Michael called to a single vehicle accident with 13 casualties, five critically injured. Michael worked for three hours in 47 degree heat until assistance arrived. Michael was selected to feature on the cover of the Great Northern Directory and has received awards from Main Roads WA and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and been admitted as a member of the Royal College of Nursing. Early this year, Michael - described as the North West’s guardian angel - had to retire due to a chronic and painful bone condition.
Steve Andrews founded Black Dog Ride in 2009 following the suicides of his own mother and best mate's wife. His courageous resolve to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention has seen him complete a solo motorbike ride around Australia and coordinate 5 National Rides with thousands of Australians participating. Steve's inspired determination has motivated Australians to raise over $500,000 for mental health services and fostered a culture of mental health awareness around the nation.
Isobelle Barker, 13, stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated after falling off her horse on a weekend camping trip in June this year, that triggered a seizure. In the ultimate act of friendship, Hannah, 14, gave her friend mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, held her in her arms, screamed for help and kept Isobelle awake by asking her questions until an ambulance arrived. Isobelle states, “I am alive because of her. It’s one thing to learn CPR, but an entirely different and somewhat harder thing to resuscitate a close friend”.
Thomas started the Enough is Enough WA, which now has more than 5,000 members. The 21 year old unselfishly postponed his university studies so he could focus on the creation of a website for the group. He has won the Human Spirit Award for his commitment to reducing road trauma, and was this year appointed the youngest member of the Victims of Crime Reference Group. Tom has presented at schools, organised demonstrations, fundraised for families and comforted those to overcome heartbreak and grief.
Craig is Associate Professor in Maternal Fetal Medicine at The University of Western Australia, and has also been a senior lecturer at UWA and taught at Royal Adelaide Hospital. Many of his patients describe him as compassionate, dedicated, sincere and supportive, and an asset to the public health system. Craig works tirelessly in fetal research into pre-term birth, travelling the world in search of funding. His actions have improved the lives of many of his patients – as there is no greater joy than the arrival of a healthy baby.
Josh started an organisation called Sonlife Africa, which exists to provide education, clean water, sustainability and health to those living in poverty. Josh began a scholarship program at his school to encourage students to make a difference and took six students to Kenya last October. Before the trip, Josh spent months fundraising and has so far raised $100,000. So inspired are his students by Josh’s work, that they have begun running their own fundraising events, with all money provided to Sonlife Africa.
As the campaign manager for Stop the Toad Foundation, the 32-year-old Kim patrols the Northern Territory-Western Australian border to ensure the state’s precious habitat is not invaded. In 2010, Kim was instrumental in building a trial toad-proof fence at Emma Gorge in the El Questro Wilderness Park. The WA biologist was recently named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year. She has successfully motivated others to conserve the natural environment through innovative public presentations, leading volunteer groups and through her involvement in various environmental campaigns.
Suresh has been described as a passionate advocate for people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and is currently the executive officer of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA. Suresh won the Office of Multicultural Interests Multicultural Ambassador Commendation in 2007, and last year was nominated for the Federal Multicultural Ambassador’s position. Suresh is a long-standing board member of the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre, as well as being a State Government ambassador for people with disabilities and works closely with the WA Police Community Diversity Units.
For more information visit perthnow.com.au