Lifeline Hunter Central Coast has scored a coup with Jessica Rowe AM confirmed as the special guest speaker at its annual Steel Magnolia Awards dinner to be held in Newcastle on Friday, 29 July 2016.
Chairman Gary Webb said the Port of Newcastle had also been confirmed as the new major sponsor.
The Steel Magnolia Award recognises a special woman who has been through adversity yet still finds the courage and inspiration to give back to their community. The Award has been running for 11 years and was won last year by Moira McCabe (Berriman).
Gary said the event is also a chance to raise urgently needed funds for the work done by Lifeline Hunter Central Coast to save the lives of local people through its crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Jessica is a key note speaker, journalist, author and mental health advocate. She is currently a presenter on the Network 10 weekday morning show Studio 10. Her latest book is a memoir titled Is this my Beautiful Life?
She said this is her first visit to the Hunter as a speaker.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting and hearing the stories of the inspirational Hunter women nominated for the award,” Jessica said.
“Lifeline does important life saving work in the Hunter so I jumped at the chance to help it to raise funds to continue its local suicide prevention services,” she said.
“I’ll also be sharing with local women the messages from my book: you don’t have to fit the mould of the perfect woman; ‘having it all’ may develop a different meaning; and that it’s okay to ask for help.”
More than 2,500 Australians die by suicide each year, double the national road toll.
More details on the event, including the venue, will be announced when the call for nominations is made next month.
Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast estimates it saves the lives of 5,000 local people each year through its crisis support and suicide prevention services but relies on community support for more than 85 per cent of its funding.
Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world.
Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter began in 1966 when Reverend John Chegwidden was awakened by a distressed telephone call from a man wanting to know if there was a Lifeline service operating in the region.
Over the years, Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter has expanded its operations from the traditional telephone crisis support service to include a range of services to relieve the stress and pain of the people of Newcastle & Hunter.