Organ donor advocate Simone McMahon (25) was named the 2008 WA Young Australian of the Year last night.
Simone received the award from Youth Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich at the WA Australian of the Year Awards presentation ceremony, which is co-ordinated by the Australia Day Council each year.
Nominations were sought to identify outstanding Australians, and the response from the community was overwhelming with more than 3,000 nominations received this year.
Simone will now proceed to the national awards to be announced by the Prime Minister on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra on the eve of Australia Day 2008.
Ms Ravlich said Simone was selected as the WA winner ahead of three outstanding finalists: high achiever Madhusudhan Bhamidipaty (19); environmentalist Aimee Silla (23); and Olympic gymnast Allana Slater (23), who were all excellent role models for young Western Australians.
“Simone is an inspiration to the whole community in the way she dedicates her time and energy to ensuring the importance of organ donation is promoted and supported,” the Minister said.
“She is proof that with dedication and the desire to succeed, young Western Australians can achieve great things.”
Born with poor kidney function and suffering chronic renal failure at age nine, Simone knows first-hand how priceless the gift of an organ can be. Before her kidney transplant at age 11, Simone was on dialysis for 10 hours a day. She has been passionately promoting organ and tissue donation ever since.
Simone is the WA State president and a national director of Transplant Australia, a volunteer with the Kidney Health Foundation, and a wish granter with the Starlight Foundation, spending much of her time supporting seriously ill children and helping to grant their wishes.
Simone is a Law graduate and Churchill Fellow recipient, whose scholarship allowed her to identify successful international models of organ and tissue donation and assess promotion strategies which provide support to transplant recipients, donor families and living donors.
Ms Ravlich said the State Government recognised the important role played by young people in contributing to and shaping society, locally, nationally and globally.
“People often say that children and youth are our future, but they are also our today and are making a huge contribution right now,” she said.
Minister's office: 9213 6800