A big thank you to the following celebrities who publicly support the work of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children! Their efforts help to raise awareness and funds for the services that RIDBC provides.
Champion Australian Paratriathlete Katie Kelly has been raising funds for RIDBC for over 20 years.
Katie was born with moderate hearing loss. In her twenties she was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a degenerative eye sight and hearing condition.
Katie came to compete as a PT5 athlete after she was formally classified in this division in early 2015 after her eye sight had deteriorated to a legally blind status. From February 2015, Katie gained selection on Triathlon Australia's elite Paratriathlon program. Katie went onto win the Paratriathlon PT5 (Vision Impaired) World Championships in September 2015 and Australia's first ever Gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics where Paratriathlon made its debut. For both races, Katie had Olympic medallist Michellie Jones as her Guide.
Paratriathlon is the newest sport to the Paralympics and consists of a 750m swim, 20km bike ride and a 5km run.
Katie has been actively involved in the sports industry both in her career and pro bono work for over 15 years working with premier Australian companies as the NRL, ANZ Stadium and Tabcorp. She also worked on contract with the NT Government's Sport and Recreation.
Katie has a deep commitment to projects that promote healthier lifestyles, particularly access to sports for children with a disability. She would also like to see more progression on the social development of children with a disability in the indigenous communities.
Katie is a Board Member of Deaf Sports Australia and is passionate about the delivery of their programs including Active Deaf Kids program. She is also working to set up the ‘Sport Access Foundation’, which will primarily serve to remove any barriers for children with a disability to play sport.
In 2013, RIDBC has been very fortunate to be named the Steggles Sydney Roosters Charity Nest ‘Charity of Choice’ with Sydney Rooster, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, the RIDBC Ambassador. We thank Jared for his wonderful support in raising awareness of RIDBC.
Reuben Mourad is one of Australia’s most versatile young television personalities. While he has generously donated his time and skills for RIDBC for many years, we were very grateful in 2011 when he accepted an ambassadorship for the charity.
“I feel fortunate to have been working first hand with some of the amazing staff and students at the RIDBC Alice Betteridge School for several years and they've shown me the incredible things that can be achieved with the right specialist care and attention. I'm really honoured to be formally working with an organisation that I've been a part of at the grass roots level.”
Reuben has worked across numerous aspects of Australian broadcast media – from entertainment, news, sport and weather to live radio and events.
A former national anchor and weather presenter on Foxtel and Austar, Reuben has covered a diverse range of stories and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the media.
Currently a presenter on Network TEN around Australia, Reuben continues his regular direct involvement with RIDBC, including his close relationship with the staff and students at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School.
“RIDBC has helped so many families across Australia, and their ongoing work with children who have vision or hearing loss continues to improve the quality of life for thousands of children.”
Sir Michael Parkinson
Chat show legend Sir Michael Parkinson never hesitates to go in and bat for his favourite Australian charity. Fans of Michael will be aware of his great affection for Australia and for cricket, but may not realise his generous regard for and interest in the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, which he has supported for 30 years.
“I have always had immense respect for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children,” Michael said. “I have been impressed by the positive impact they have on the lives of children with hearing or vision loss.”
In 1983, Michael created a mascot for the Institute known as “Rockie Woofit”, an Australian version of his successful UK characters “The Woofits”, which featured in his children's books and television series. Today, Rockie's spirit lives on at the RIDBC Rockie Woofit Preschool at North Rocks.
Tara Moss is the author of six bestselling novels, Fetish, Split, Covet, Hit, Siren and The Blood Countess. Her books have been published in 17 countries in 11 languages.
She also hosts the true crime documentary series Tough Nuts - Australia's Hardest Criminals on the Crime & Investigation Network, and the author interview show Tara in Conversation on 13th Street Universal.
She has been an ambassador for the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 2000. Her second paranormal novel, The Spider Goddess, will be published December 1, and she is currently writing her 6th crime novel, with the working title of Assassin. Moss is a dual Australian/Canadian citizen.
Blind marathon swimmer, James Pittar has been an ambassador for the annual Splash for Cash event for the past 13 years. The 9th Australian to be inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, James’ vision began to decline when he was 16 years old.
By his early 30s he was completely blind which led him to focus his sporting efforts on swimming and rowing. During the 1990’s he represented Australia in both these sports as a disabled athlete.
He has also had stunning achievements in long-distance swimming being the first blind man to swim the English Channel. He swam a less gruelling 302 laps in the 2011 Splash for Cash event, making it look easy.
James understands the challenges the children at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) face every day.
“RIDBC is a charity that I’m proud to support,” he said. “They provide expert support for children and their families from just weeks of age and ensure that children who with vision or hearing loss can reach their full potential.”
Not just another sportsperson, Justin is known as the ‘rock star’ of the swim team. His unique edge, likeable personality and never-say-die attitude are amongst his greatest assets. He has been an Australian Swim Team member since 1999.
His career highlights include several Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals from international swimming competitions, including Sydney Olympics 2000, Athens Olympics 2004, and Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002.
Justin is the official ambassador, and regular supporter of the RIDBC annual Hunter Splash swimathon.
Graham is best known as one of the hosts of Channel 7 television show Better Homes and Gardens, for his popular weekend gardening show on Radio 2GB, and his family's garden tour business.
Graham and his wife Sandra have a long association with RIDBC, combining their love of gardening and their love of children to assist with many of its fundraising programs over the years.
Graham caught up with British chat show legend Michael Parkinson at the 2007 Chelsea flower show, where they chatted about their mutual connection with RIDBC.