Nominations open for Australian of the Year 2021 awards

What do Emmah Money and Dr Richard Harris have in common?

Apart from calling South Australia home and being widely known among their peers for having big hearts towards humankind, both are decorated Australian heroes.

Dedicated Cystic Fibrosis ambassador Ms Money received the 2020 South Australian of the Year award for her endeavours, including a lengthy battle to place a life-changing drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Deservedly, Dr Harris was named joint recipient of the Australian of the Year Award in 2018 for his heroic efforts overseas in the international rescue mission to save 12 boys from flooded caves in Thailand.

Their real-life stories are a reminder that the time has come for more South Australian heroes to join coveted honour list.

Australian Community Media (ACM), the publisher of this newspaper and a sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards, is now urging people to promote the actions of the state's unsung heroes and recognise them with a nomination for the 2021 awards.

For Ms Money, the "humbling recognition" has boosted much-needed awareness of the common hereditary illness of cystic fibrosis, a condition with which she lives.

"It (the award) has given me more confidence in what I do and allowed me to truly believe that what I am doing is for the greater good," she told ACM.

The award, which proudly sits with a myriad of other accolades in her South Australian home, has further enabled her to expand on her work.

Not only did she convince the Australian Government to make the drug Orkambi more accessible to cystic fibrosis patients, but through her social media platform, CF Mummy, she has raised more than $50,000 to support research into a cure.

"I am extremely proud of the fundraising component...as I do this on my own and through creating events and online fundraising activities," she said.

The recognition has also taken Ms Money to places and events she had never dreamed of attending.

"I went from one morning tea at the Prime Minister's residence, to a luncheon with some wonderful Australians including Olympic swimmer Dawn Fraser and Aussie cricketing legend Mark Taylor," she said.

She also had the opportunity to meet with Dr Harris and joint winner of the 2019 Australian of the Year, retired veterinarian Craig Challen, from Western Australia.

"That weekend has left many memories, and will be one to talk of often," she said.

Ms Money also speaks to children in schools across Australia, inspiring students with her personal obstacles which has included bullying and depression while living with an invisible disability.

"As a child I never had a older CF woman to look up to," she said.

However, the busy woman said she was grateful to those who looked up to her and remained motivated.

"I am extremely proud to live an extraordinary life and I will continue to achieve many things as I help show others that CF does not define me," she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Harris, who currently serves the health system overseas, was jointly awarded awarded the Star of Courage for his unwavering and selfless bravery following the successful rescue of a Thai soccer team of young boys.

A cave diver with 30 years of experience and a specialist in aeromedical retrieval, Dr Harris had previously participated in complex diving recoveries in 2015.

Together, Ms Money and Dr Harris are now urging the public to recognised a great Aussie and nominate them for the Australian of the Year Awards.

"With so many doing wonderful things within the community, this is a great way to also recognise the unsung heroes," Ms Money said.

"I highly recommend people to take a look at the categories and nominate someone who is doing amazing things, as this recognition is a true honour," she added.

Categories for the awards are - Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year as well as Australia's Local Hero.

Just one nomination is needed for an Australian to be considered for an award.

For more details and nominate visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au.