Yvonne Cuschieri OAM, 73 - Cancer support pioneer (Queanbeyan)
The ‘founding mother’ of the Cancer Support Group, Yvonne Cuschieri has provided financial support and friendship to more than 30,000 cancer sufferers and their families over the past three decades. Yvonne’s vocation began in 1985, when she raised funds to send 13 teenagers with cancer to a CanTeen camp. It wasn’t long before social workers were knocking on her door on behalf of other families needing help and Yvonne began hosting support group meetings in her dining room. From humble beginnings, the Cancer Support Group now assists around 700 patients at any one time with money for treatment and ongoing living expenses. Yvonne is known for always putting others first, but her desire to help others affected by cancer comes from a deeply personal space. After fighting her own battle with lung cancer, she lost her son to a brain tumour in 2013. This personal pain has made Yvonne even more determined to support others when cancer turns their lives upside down.
Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC, 77 - Sustainable agriculture advocate (Yarralumla)
While his career has included distinguished military service and five years as Australia’s Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery believes his biggest challenge is to restore our degraded landscape. Passionate about regenerative agriculture practices, Michael chairs a number of boards and as the National Advocate for Soil Health has raised public awareness of the critical role healthy soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity. In 2000, Michael established Future Directions International, a research institute tasked with examining long-term issues facing Australia, from water and food security to the economic development of the nation’s north. Awarded the Military Cross and the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry during his military career, Michael is as community-minded as he is brave. As Patron of the School Volunteer Program, Michael encourages adults to mentor the next generation of Australians. He also chairs the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia. By helping to raise $30 million, the Trust has contributed substantially to eliminating preventable blindness throughout the Commonwealth and Australia’s Indigenous communities.
Professor Chris Parish, 71 - Medical researcher (Campbell)
Two things drive Professor Chris Parish. The first is discovering how things work. The second is applying that knowledge to improve human health. Over his 40 year career, Chris has been a driving force behind significant advances in cancer and immunology research. A world authority in his field, Chris was the first person to demonstrate ‘immune deviation’ – a phenomenon recognised as playing a critical role in the development of auto immune disease and resistance to infections. He's also made major contributions to the development of novel therapeutic anti-cancer agents, with his studies leading to the development of anti-cancer drugs. His research findings underpin several Australian biotechnology companies and he holds 28 international patents. As the recent Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Chris has been instrumental in building Australia’s reputation as a global leader in scientific enquiry, while improving the quality of life for the 11,500 Australians and
14 million people worldwide diagnosed with cancer each year.
Professor Greg Tegart, 86 - Scientist and technology advocate (Yarralumla)
At 86 years of age, Professor Greg Tegart is a leading advocate for smart assistive technologies that give aged and disabled people independence and a better quality of life. Greg’s distinguished career spans research in metallurgy and materials and high level executive and policy positions in industry, the CSIRO and the federal government.
The extent of Greg’s contribution to Australian science and technology policy over four decades is substantial. He led Australia’s initial participation in climate change assessment through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was recognised for his contribution to the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC. He has been a leader in studies linking technology to the future of society. In recent years, Greg’s world-leading work to promote smart assistive technologies for aged and disability care has enabled many Australians to lead more empowered and independent lives. Greg provides a real-world example of the contribution that older people can make to the Australian community.