Friday, 14 June 2024
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Locals achieve through adversity

Locals achieve through adversity

Blackmans Bay resident Ella Smalley has taken home the title of Premier's Young Achiever of the Year and the St Luke's Healthier Communities Award in the Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards.
She was joined by three local trampoline gymnasts as either finalists or nominees.
Rohan Wilcox, based in Howden, was presented as a finalist in the Motors Tasmania Sports Award.

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Billy French from Tinderbox was a nominee in the same award.

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Older sister Amber French was a finalist in the Raw Strength Sports in the Community Award.

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"I am still finding it hard to put into words how much this means," Ella said in response to her awards.
"As I mentioned in my speech at the awards night, I think it is very important to acknowledge collaboration and that all these accomplishments would not be possible without the support of Youth Cancer Action Board.
"By winning this award, it has allowed me to keep the conversation going and to communicate with the government and media how important it is to strive to do better regarding cancer care in general, but in particular youth and adolescent cancer care."
Ella was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was 23 and in her second year of her PhD.
She joined the Youth Cancer Action Board (YCAB) in 2021, advocating for improved cancer care for adolescents and young adults.
"I knew that it was going to be a difficult road ahead while I navigated treatment and what that would mean for me whilst at uni," Ella said.
"I think by having cancer myself it really helped me see where sometimes patients can fall through the cracks of the health system - including that patients who are undergoing treatment are not eligible for disability payments as cancer is classed as an 'illness' not a 'disability', meaning that I had to go on Jobseeker and at times was expected to still be applying for 20 jobs per month."
Amber French faced challenges of her own in her athletic career, having to overcome multiple injuries.
Despite these setbacks, she persists in personal development, coaching and judging, inspiring youth athletes and promoting the sport through fundraising and media appearances.
Her younger brother Billy was a nominee in the Motors Tasmania Sports Award for his impressive results in trampoline gymnastics on a national and international level.
Billy also supports his sport through coaching, judging and fundraising initiatives.
Rohan Wilcox was a finalist in the Motors Tasmania Sports Awards for his remarkable achievements in both individual and team competitions, including gold at the Trans-Tasman Challenge and ranking within the top 10 at the FIG World Age Championships.
Rohan displays the skills of a senior gymnast, exemplifying his commitment to the sport.
The Kingborough Chronicle asked what was next for Ella Smalley after being named the Premier's Young Achiever of the Year.
"The sky is the limit, really," Ella said.
"Being part of YCAB has taught me so much on the importance of consumer and community involvement - something that I am so passionate about in my own research.
"I hope that with the opportunities that this award provides me to connect with policy and change makers as well as the media that I can shine even greater light on some of the struggles that young people face during treatment.
"I am also delivering an outreach program for young people who have experienced chronic disease (not just cancer) who are interested in science to help them get inspired to work within the sciences - so watch this space."


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