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Fundraiser of the Year Award

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Proudly sponsored by Precision Group

This award recognises fundraisers who have gone above and beyond to help raise awareness and funds for stroke in Australia. It is open to individuals who have fundraised for the Stroke Foundation.

Fundraiser of the Year Award Winner & Finalists

Matt Picone - Winner

Matt

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

I had a stroke on the 21st June 2019 at home in Glenorchy TAS and was airlifted to Melbourne later that night. So when I was looking for a way to acknowledge the care I’d received, it was important that I chose something that reflected all the facilities I had benefited from and since Stroke Foundation works with hospitals and rehabilitation units across the country improving the care provided to survivors and families, it made sense for me to work with them.

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

A tremendous sense of community. I imagined passing the hat around as it were and having little more than an exchange of pleasantries both with the foundation and donors. But the staff were deeply concerned about my welfare for the outset and so many people have a story to share about how stroke has affected their lives either directly or through friends and family.

Even the event I chose as the fundraising avenue (the Point to Pinnacle), I prepared to enter as a solo “competitor” but actually enjoyed a real day of camaraderie.

Beth and Nichola Browning

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

We have always being a community focused family and with my parents both working in the health and not for profit sectors we understand the benefit and importance of fundraising, giving back and also raising awareness for others. We decided after I had suffered a stroke at only 19 in August 2019 at such a young age, learning more about the Australian Stroke Foundation, others stories, their journeys to recovery and the November Stride for Stroke initiative we wanted to get involved to give us all a positive focus to help me throughout my months of recovery. My Auntie and Uncle also started us all off by running a half marathon and raised over £500 in the UK for the UK Stroke Association to raise awareness of Stroke and my story for #worldstrokeday2019.

The Stride for Stroke Walkathon community event and challenge meant I could share my story and journey to promote the FAST Message, encourage others to be healthy, fit, motivated and committed to the cause raise valuable funds and come together as a family and community, make a difference to others and maybe even save a life if others could through our promotion and education recognize the signs of stroke. Y

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

Being involved really helped myself and all our family stay strong, healthy and turn a negative into a positive while giving back and making a difference to others recovering after a stroke. Some people have much longer and enduring physical and psychological recovery and this was motivation enough when you know others are still in their hospital beds, for me to go out and make a difference and speak up because I could.

I am still so proud about the difference I have made in fundraising, sharing my story, raising awareness, and organising a community event that I hope will inspire others to raise much needed funds to continue the great work that the Australian Stroke foundation continues to do to support those recovering from stroke and their families.

I was able to turn a negative into a positive, and I feel I have had a purpose during my recovery, telling my story has helped me be brave and cope with what has happened. I have been able focus on raising awareness to help others rather than internalise what has happened to me. I am usually a private person when it comes to personal challenges but I now believe strongly that telling my story really can help and I think I have grown as a person at different stages of my recovery. I hope to join the StrokeSafe Speaker program and dedicate my time to advocacy work in the future after I have taken a few more months to get back into normal life, and continue to share my story as a stroke survivor, volunteer for the stroke foundation and maybe even run another Stride for Stroke Walkathon event this year!

Natasha Seneviratne

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

I got involved in fundraising at the stroke foundation because of my Dad, Dennis Butters.

Sadly, my dad passed away 6 weeks after he had a major stroke, he had suffered a smaller stroke 4 years previously but fully recovered. After his passing I started googling about strokes and how I could help. I came across the stroke foundation and read about the stride for stroke and signed up straight away. Even though it was too late to help Dad, I wanted to do all I could to help other people and families hopefully to prevent them from going through the pain of losing a love one like I did.

I also wanted to raise awareness for the foundation and about strokes. I found whenever I talked to people about it, no one knew of the foundation and quite a few of them had been affected by stroke within their family. And no one was aware of how many people have had or had been affected by stroke in Australia. So I wanted to make people realise how serious strokes are, that they can happen at any age and the facts about the numbers growing each year so donating is really important.

And the other reason was I wanted to make my dad proud, even though he was gone I wanted to do something to honour him, as he was such a giving person.

What did you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

I personally got so much out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation and I would personally like to thank you guys for all you do to help. This Foundation has been my therapy and got me to pull myself out of the darkest, saddest place I have ever been. The Foundation has helped me turn my most heartbreaking moment into a positive, by helping people. I was in a bad place and grief had taken over me, I was barely functioning and crying all the time. Helping the Stroke Foundation pushed me back into the world. It also helped me show my kids the importance of helping others and that even though I was sad, helping other people it can bring you happiness.

It also gave me great pride in my small country home town. When I put together the fun day so many people donated prizes and showed up to donate on the day. It showed me how many people cared for my Dad. It was an emotional day, but it brought so much joy with people sharing their stories of Dad and having a laugh.

I have had people come up to me and can see that spark in my eyes again, the colour is back in my face and I’m looking better. So the Foundation has given me so much. I’m glad I could do something to help the foundation.

So thank you. But after this I’m not going to stop, I want to help in any way I can, I’m going to do some more fundraisers, but I also want to continue to raise awareness.

Gary Hall and Team BGL

Gary and Team BGL

We at BGL are very proud that we’ve been able to raise so much money for the Stroke Foundation during the Run Melbourne event. And that’s why I cannot accept the congratulations solely myself. Raising money for the Stroke Foundation has always been a team effort here at BGL. Some people asked their friends/family for donations, others turned fundraising into a competition to raise more, and certain standout individuals even resorted to shaving off their beards to hit our targets. So the questions you sent I have posed to a number of people at BGL.

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

My sister in law had a stroke.
I have family members impacted by strokes so it’s a way of honouring them.
My family has been impacted - My Nonna had a massive stroke.
My Father had a stroke.
BGL encouraged employees to get involved in the initiative as many people in our company had experienced a stroke or had a loved one that had suffered from a stroke. BGL are very supportive of our families and fighting for a cure.
Peer pressure from the rest of the team!

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

It’s a great way for a company to be able to give back to the community
I feel like I'm helping make a difference towards raising awareness and preventing strokes in the future
Both of my Grandfathers suffered a stroke and, unfortunately, lived quite short lives. I witnessed suffering and countless trips to the hospital. When they passed on, my family suffered huge loss and prolonged grief. If I can contribute to research and support to prevent someone else from going through this, then why wouldn't I?

Nathan Nguyen

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

After suffering a stroke at the age of 29 and being told that I wouldn't be able to walk again, I wanted to raise awareness for young stroke survivors and also fundraise for stroke research. The Stroke Foundation provides such an important role in raising awareness for stroke and I wanted to help in any way possible.

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

I have always believed in self-determinism so fundraising by undertaking five mountain walks was an opportunity to challenge myself physically as well as raise valuable funds for stroke research and awareness.

What advice would you give a stroke survivor or someone that has recently suffered a stroke?

After initially being half-paralysed and wheelchair-bound, I have come a long way and continue to make progress after nearly three years of rehab so my advice would be to always strive for the best recovery possible. Things will get better no matter how dark the present appears to be.

Matt Picone - Winner

Matt

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

I had a stroke on the 21st June 2019 at home in Glenorchy TAS and was airlifted to Melbourne later that night. So when I was looking for a way to acknowledge the care I’d received, it was important that I chose something that reflected all the facilities I had benefited from and since Stroke Foundation works with hospitals and rehabilitation units across the country improving the care provided to survivors and families, it made sense for me to work with them.

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

A tremendous sense of community. I imagined passing the hat around as it were and having little more than an exchange of pleasantries both with the foundation and donors. But the staff were deeply concerned about my welfare for the outset and so many people have a story to share about how stroke has affected their lives either directly or through friends and family.

Even the event I chose as the fundraising avenue (the Point to Pinnacle), I prepared to enter as a solo “competitor” but actually enjoyed a real day of camaraderie.

Beth and Nichola Browning

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

We have always being a community focused family and with my parents both working in the health and not for profit sectors we understand the benefit and importance of fundraising, giving back and also raising awareness for others. We decided after I had suffered a stroke at only 19 in August 2019 at such a young age, learning more about the Australian Stroke Foundation, others stories, their journeys to recovery and the November Stride for Stroke initiative we wanted to get involved to give us all a positive focus to help me throughout my months of recovery. My Auntie and Uncle also started us all off by running a half marathon and raised over £500 in the UK for the UK Stroke Association to raise awareness of Stroke and my story for #worldstrokeday2019.

The Stride for Stroke Walkathon community event and challenge meant I could share my story and journey to promote the FAST Message, encourage others to be healthy, fit, motivated and committed to the cause raise valuable funds and come together as a family and community, make a difference to others and maybe even save a life if others could through our promotion and education recognize the signs of stroke. Y

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

Being involved really helped myself and all our family stay strong, healthy and turn a negative into a positive while giving back and making a difference to others recovering after a stroke. Some people have much longer and enduring physical and psychological recovery and this was motivation enough when you know others are still in their hospital beds, for me to go out and make a difference and speak up because I could.

I am still so proud about the difference I have made in fundraising, sharing my story, raising awareness, and organising a community event that I hope will inspire others to raise much needed funds to continue the great work that the Australian Stroke foundation continues to do to support those recovering from stroke and their families.

I was able to turn a negative into a positive, and I feel I have had a purpose during my recovery, telling my story has helped me be brave and cope with what has happened. I have been able focus on raising awareness to help others rather than internalise what has happened to me. I am usually a private person when it comes to personal challenges but I now believe strongly that telling my story really can help and I think I have grown as a person at different stages of my recovery. I hope to join the StrokeSafe Speaker program and dedicate my time to advocacy work in the future after I have taken a few more months to get back into normal life, and continue to share my story as a stroke survivor, volunteer for the stroke foundation and maybe even run another Stride for Stroke Walkathon event this year!

Natasha Seneviratne

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

I got involved in fundraising at the stroke foundation because of my Dad, Dennis Butters.

Sadly, my dad passed away 6 weeks after he had a major stroke, he had suffered a smaller stroke 4 years previously but fully recovered. After his passing I started googling about strokes and how I could help. I came across the stroke foundation and read about the stride for stroke and signed up straight away. Even though it was too late to help Dad, I wanted to do all I could to help other people and families hopefully to prevent them from going through the pain of losing a love one like I did.

I also wanted to raise awareness for the foundation and about strokes. I found whenever I talked to people about it, no one knew of the foundation and quite a few of them had been affected by stroke within their family. And no one was aware of how many people have had or had been affected by stroke in Australia. So I wanted to make people realise how serious strokes are, that they can happen at any age and the facts about the numbers growing each year so donating is really important.

And the other reason was I wanted to make my dad proud, even though he was gone I wanted to do something to honour him, as he was such a giving person.

What did you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

I personally got so much out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation and I would personally like to thank you guys for all you do to help. This Foundation has been my therapy and got me to pull myself out of the darkest, saddest place I have ever been. The Foundation has helped me turn my most heartbreaking moment into a positive, by helping people. I was in a bad place and grief had taken over me, I was barely functioning and crying all the time. Helping the Stroke Foundation pushed me back into the world. It also helped me show my kids the importance of helping others and that even though I was sad, helping other people it can bring you happiness.

It also gave me great pride in my small country home town. When I put together the fun day so many people donated prizes and showed up to donate on the day. It showed me how many people cared for my Dad. It was an emotional day, but it brought so much joy with people sharing their stories of Dad and having a laugh.

I have had people come up to me and can see that spark in my eyes again, the colour is back in my face and I’m looking better. So the Foundation has given me so much. I’m glad I could do something to help the foundation.

So thank you. But after this I’m not going to stop, I want to help in any way I can, I’m going to do some more fundraisers, but I also want to continue to raise awareness.

Gary Hall and Team BGL

Gary and Team BGL

We at BGL are very proud that we’ve been able to raise so much money for the Stroke Foundation during the Run Melbourne event. And that’s why I cannot accept the congratulations solely myself. Raising money for the Stroke Foundation has always been a team effort here at BGL. Some people asked their friends/family for donations, others turned fundraising into a competition to raise more, and certain standout individuals even resorted to shaving off their beards to hit our targets. So the questions you sent I have posed to a number of people at BGL.

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising at the Stroke Foundation?

My sister in law had a stroke.
I have family members impacted by strokes so it’s a way of honouring them.
My family has been impacted - My Nonna had a massive stroke.
My Father had a stroke.
BGL encouraged employees to get involved in the initiative as many people in our company had experienced a stroke or had a loved one that had suffered from a stroke. BGL are very supportive of our families and fighting for a cure.
Peer pressure from the rest of the team!

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

It’s a great way for a company to be able to give back to the community
I feel like I'm helping make a difference towards raising awareness and preventing strokes in the future
Both of my Grandfathers suffered a stroke and, unfortunately, lived quite short lives. I witnessed suffering and countless trips to the hospital. When they passed on, my family suffered huge loss and prolonged grief. If I can contribute to research and support to prevent someone else from going through this, then why wouldn't I?

Nathan Nguyen

What prompted you to get involved in fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

After suffering a stroke at the age of 29 and being told that I wouldn't be able to walk again, I wanted to raise awareness for young stroke survivors and also fundraise for stroke research. The Stroke Foundation provides such an important role in raising awareness for stroke and I wanted to help in any way possible.

What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?

I have always believed in self-determinism so fundraising by undertaking five mountain walks was an opportunity to challenge myself physically as well as raise valuable funds for stroke research and awareness.

What advice would you give a stroke survivor or someone that has recently suffered a stroke?

After initially being half-paralysed and wheelchair-bound, I have come a long way and continue to make progress after nearly three years of rehab so my advice would be to always strive for the best recovery possible. Things will get better no matter how dark the present appears to be.