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Australia Day ambassadors share their stories

Individuals and families can expect a host of activities to mark January 26 in their local areas, but one of the standout key events is the Australia Day ambassador’s address.

This year’s theme is ‘Reflect, Respect and Celebrate’ the Australian spirit and our diversity.

The ambassadors all volunteer their time – and each has an inspirational story and journey that they are keen to share along with the successes.

Camden’s ambassador, Jason Sotiris, founder of Supertee will be speaking about his “personal and rewarding journey” in creating the charity that provides garments for children in hospital.

It all started by his own experience trying to change his one year-old daughter who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just after her first birthday.

“I care deeply about helping others while they’re living through equally challenging times. When you change how kids look and feel during their hospital treatment, you can have a positive influence on their frame of mind,” Mr Sotiris says on his website.

The charity took off in 2016 and has raised $500,000 and donated more than 8,000 Supertees.

Liverpool’s ambassador will be Jo Brigden-Jones a former Olympian and now motivational speaker.

Since 2004 Ms Brigden-Jones a former sprint kayaker has represented Australia every year in international competitions all around the world. Her highlight was racing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where her K4 crew placed 9th. She also has 42 Australian National Titles to her name.

Clyde Campbell AM, founder of the Shake It Up Foundation will be Campbelltown’s ambassador. Mr Campbell who has Parkinson’s, didn’t want to sit back and be the guy with the condition. He wanted to be known as the guy who did something about Parkinson’s. In 2011 he launched the foundation with one mission – to increase awareness and funding in Australia targeted at finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s.

Founder of the KYUP! Foundation, Mel Thomas, is Wingecarribee’s ambassador – her goal is to end the cycle of violence at a grassroots level. Ms Thomas draws on her own 15 years’ experience in martial arts and has workshops for young women and now young men talking about martial arts and empowering their own safety. It also about lifting the lid on “intimate partner” and domestic violence.

KYUP! pronounced key-up - is a Korean martial arts power shout that translates to ‘the spirit of self-protection’ and it’s Ms Thomas catch-cry.

Warren Kermond OAM will be Wollondilly’s ambassador. The entrepreneur/entertainer has been involved in every aspect of the entertainment industry for more than 50 years, both in Australia and abroad. He has featured in theatre, television and has also staged his own productions.

His son and grandson are continuing with the family tradition. Expect to hear fascinating stories from Mr Kermond.

Jason Sotikis

Jo Brigden-Jones

Mel Thomas

Warren Kermond, OAM

Clyde Campbell, AM

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