Did you know that up to 600 Australian children experience a stroke each year? And that more than a third of strokes occur in children under one year of age?
Jackson King in Year 9 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast is doing his bit to improve the lives of stroke victims through charity fundraising and building awareness, driven by personal experience.
A stroke survivor, Jackson was recently recognised for his fundraising efforts, winning the Stroke Warrior Award at the 2023 Stroke Awards at Melbourne Town Hall on 4 May.
Jackson raised $1,600 completing the Stride 4 Stroke event in November 2022 and also used the event as a forum to improve community knowledge of stroke awareness, talking on ABC Radio and 7 News.
His sights are now set on the 2023 Stride 4 Stroke event in November, noting, “If we all do a little, it makes a big difference to the people who really need it.”
Jackson accepted his award at the event from Stroke Foundation ambassadors Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lady Cosgrove.
The Stroke Warrior Award recognises the contribution of a person under 18 years in stroke awareness, fundraising or advocacy.
Principal Stuart Meade congratulated Jackson for contributing through service.
“At Flinders, we want our students to develop skills to lead their own lives in a positive manner while also being capable of making a positive impact in the world,” Stuart said.
“Jackson has contributed his time and energy to improve the lives of others, demonstrating compassion, leadership and service,” he said.
“I encourage young people to take inspiration from their peers, like Jackson, who choose an area of focus that they are passionate about, and actively strive to contribute and make the world a better place.”
Service learning and charity fundraising are encouraged from Prep through to Year 12 at Flinders.
Each year, the Year 12 Prefects organise a major fundraising project, with this year’s 'Colours for a Cause' week in Term 2 aiming to raise more than $8,000 for local Sunshine Coast-based charity, The Board Meeting.
Flinders is also part of the global network of like-minded Round Square schools that Flinders students share a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around six IDEALS – International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service.
We asked Jackson some questions about his passion for fundraising.
Jackson, why did you fundraise for this charity and event?
The Stroke Foundation is the only organisation who supports people who have had strokes, such as myself. 'Stride 4 Stroke' is their main annual charity event to raise money to support people and their families after a stroke as well as providing financial support for stroke research.
Seeing other people who are significantly impacted from a stroke makes me realise how much support some people need, and how important it is for everyone to do a little bit to provide help in our community. If we all do a little, it makes a big difference to the people who really need it.
How else do you fundraise?
In 2022 I also raised over $1,000 in 'Super Swim', which is a charity event for Starlight Children's Foundation. I have mainly focused on raising money for strokes or children who are not well.
Can you share what you learned from attending the Melbourne Stroke Foundation Awards ceremony on 4 May?
It was so inspiring to be at the Stroke Foundation Awards. To see how much having a stroke has impacted some people, and yet they work relentlessly to help others, just inspires me to work even harder this year during 'Stride for Stroke' to raise more money to support the work they do. The most inspirational story was probably a young girl who was 4 years old and had a stroke when she was 18 months old. She was unlikely to survive, based on the level of damage she had experienced but she has persevered through all the odds and she was there at the awards ceremony and she continues to inspire people around her.
What's next for your fundraising efforts?
'Stride for Stroke' is in November and I am going to work much harder to raise a lot more money for the Stroke Foundation.
Learn more at https://www.stride4stroke.org.au/
Feature image: Principal Stuart Meade and Jackson King with his Stroke Warrior Award