Fundraiser of the Year Award

Fundraiser of the Year Award 

This award aims to recognise a fundraiser who has gone above and beyond to help raise awareness and funds for stroke in Australia. It is open to individuals who have fundraised for the National Stroke Foundation through the Do it 4 Stroke program. 

Katie Sippe and Rebecca Clarke – Fundraiser of the Year winners

Katie and Rebecca

Until stroke affected their lives, Mukinbudin sisters, Katie Sippe and Rebecca Clarke, living in rural WA, knew little about the disease.

In May last year, their beloved mother Annie suffered a major stroke. After extensive rehabilitation, Annie was able to return home to the farm and the family thought they had made it through the worst.

Then in November tragedy struck again. Annie suffered another devastating stroke and was moved into aged care. Bec and Katie said watching their mother‘s ongoing battle with stroke was the hardest thing they’ve ever experienced.
So they decided to raise awareness by participating in the HBF Run for a Reason event in May 2016, donating funds raised to the Stroke Foundation.

The sisters fundraised tirelessly within their small town to support more research and awareness of stroke. As a result the whole community got behind them and they raised an astonishing $12,000. Their determined efforts even inspired their dad Rob and Uncle Peter to join them on the fun run.

The overwhelming help and support they received from their community really lifted the family’s spirits. It’s been a tough ride, but for Katie and Bec, raising money to prevent stroke impacting the other families, made it all worthwhile. 



Clare Stariha– Fundraiser of the Year finalist

Clair and her father
When Clare saw her father-in-law, Alex, struggling everyday with his recovery from a debilitating stroke, Clare knew she had to do something.

Setting herself a huge challenge, she decided to raise money for stroke by running 100 kilometres in a month, creating a video and putting the word out via Facebook.

A Pharmacy retail manager, Clare also held a ‘Know Your Numbers’ month at her work where she checked customers’ blood pressure and explained the risks of stroke to them. When Clare’s mum came in to support her efforts, Clare was shocked. Her mum’s blood pressure was scarily high and she didn’t even know it!

Thanks to Clare’s fundraising activities in 2015, she raised well over $2000. Her spirit, energy and drive to gain support and raise awareness of the risks of stroke is truly admirable. If Clare can help one person recognise their risks and prevent stroke, she says ‘it’s worth it!’

Read our interview with Clare Stariha


Katie Webster – Fundraiser of the Year finalist

Katie and a friend

When Guilford local Katie Webster decided to battle the cold and choppy conditions of the Rottnest Channel Swim, her thoughts were only of her father, Keith, and his fight with stroke.

Keith suffered a devastating stroke which transformed him from an active and adventurous retiree to needing around the clock care in a nursing home. 

In between working as a paramedic, studying physiotherapy and being a mother of two, Katie somehow finds time to help in aged care as a volunteer. 

Katie put together a Stroke4Stroke team to compete in the Rottnest Channel Swim. She was joined by her brother, Simon and friends, Lucy and Kay to compete in the 20km race. 
With the help of the swim team, Katie also put together a fundraising night in a barn.

All up, she raised in excess of $4000 to promote awareness of the impact of stroke. As Katie says 

Read our interview with Katie Webster

Macy-Lee Smedley – Fundraiser of the Year finalist

Macy-Lee and family

From being told she would never walk again, to running in the Bridge to Brisbane fundraising event, Macy-Lee Smedley is an unstoppable young woman.

At the age of seven, Macy-Lee suffered an AVM rupture where blood vessels in the brain burst. Macy-Lee’s MRI scan indicated she might not survive, so her surgeons initially didn’t hold out much hope for her. Her parents were given the grim prognosis that if Macy-Lee did survive, she may never walk again.

Yet only six weeks later, Macy-Lee was released from Brisbane’s Royal Children’s Hospital, walking, but with some short-term memory loss.

After leaving hospital, Macy-Lee held a ‘thank you birthday party’ to thank her school friends and family for their support. Rather than receiving birthday gifts, Macy-Lee asked her friends and family to donate money to fight stroke. 

Keen to continue to raise awareness about stroke so that others didn’t suffer like she did, Macy-Lee and her sister embarked on a door-knock appeal that raised $2000.

Amazingly just months after her stroke, Macy-Lee competed in the 5km Bridge to Brisbane with the Brighton Stroke Survivors support group and raised a further $1000. In another fundraising effort, Macy-Lee raised $500, which she presented to the amazing surgeons that saved her life.

Nothing has stopped this incredible little girl. Macy-Lee tries her hardest and always gives 110 percent. Macy-Lee’s mum Melanie says if you tell her daughter she can't, Macy-Lee says ‘watch me’ whilst always smiling. 

Our interview with Macy-Lee Smedley

Madeline Colla – Fundraiser of the Year finalist


Madeline Colla just wanted to make her grandma proud.

After her grandma passed away from stroke, Madi Colla struggled with her grief. She wanted to know why it happened.
Madi did a lot of research about stroke and found out just how common it is.

In tribute to her grandma, Madi decided to organise an Annual Trivia night in September. 

Madi put plenty of time and effort into putting together a very successful night. She rallied friends and family and encouraged them to contribute to a worthy cause. In 2015, Madi raised more than $500 to help increase awareness of the danger of stroke.

Her family and no doubt her grandma would be very proud of her tremendous efforts.

Read our interview with Madeline Colla

Sandra O’Dell – Fundraiser of the Year

Sandra at home

After Niomi’s father suffered a massive stroke in 2014, Sandra O’Dell wanted to do all she could to support her best friend. Sandra saw how much the stroke affected Niomi’s family and was determined to help.

Last year Sandra participated in Stride 4 Stroke, running over 100 kilometres in a month, to raise funds and awareness for the Stroke Foundation. Sandra never gave up. She did it tough, but Sandra fought through the pain and just kept on running, 

Thanks to her efforts, Sandra raised more than $3000 and was totally overwhelmed by the love and support she received. 

Niomi says Sandra has been a supportive, loving and caring friend whose selfless act in running for a cause is truly admirable.

For Niomi and her family there are not enough words to thank Sandra for her sacrifice.

Read our interview with Sandra O'Dell

Tim Hollibone – a Fundraiser of the Year finalist

Tim at the pub

Melbourne electrician, Tim Hollibone, eagerly anticipated his buck’s weekend, but not for the reason you’d expect.

Two and a half years earlier, his beloved grandfather John suffered a stroke which greatly affected his life. Having seen first-hand the impact on his own family, Tim wanted to help prevent others from going through a similar situation. 

So Tim decided he would host a fundraiser for the Stroke Foundation during his buck’s weekend to help raise awareness and support for stroke survivors. As an enticement to his mates to support his event and pledge some cash, Tim decided to sacrifice his beloved rat’s tail!

Through rallying his mates, family and being very active on social media, Tim raised nearly $3000 for stroke awareness and gained a new hair cut!