Being a Lifeline WA Ambassador is an important role in the WA community. Lifeline WA Ambassadors support our vision in a range of ways from sharing ‘lived experience’ stories to active participation of Lifeline WA fundraising events and initiatives. This helps us to raise awareness of our services and encourages open and responsible discussion about mental health and suicide.
Ambassadors play a critical role in de-stigmatising suicide and mental health issues in the community, and they assist in showing that mental illness and suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate between social status, age, race, gender or any other demographic. Anyone can be affected, at any stage of life.
Stigma is still one of the main barriers for people seeking or accepting help for a mental illness or suicidal thoughts.
When Ambassadors share their lived experience of suicide or living with a mental illness it can provide hope and inspiration to others who are, or have been in a similar situation.
Lifeline WA Ambassadors
Lifeline WA’s origins began with a radio show; the Nightline program on Radio 6PR, hosted by Baptist Minister Graham Mabury. For 33 years, Graham Mabury was a light in the darkness for hundreds of thousands of radio listeners in Perth providing companionship and compassion, entertainment and encouragement for people from all walks of life.
In 1986, Graham established the Living Stone Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provided off-air counselling support for callers to the Nightline program, as well as material aid in the form of winter blankets and Christmas food hampers and toys to those hurting or in need in the community. The Foundation later merged with the operations of Life In Focus, an emergency relief group operated by the Churches of Christ and was accredited in 1994 to operate as a Lifeline Centre in WA.
Graham is a pastor with the Mt Pleasant Baptist Church and has received many honours. Among them are an Order of Australia Medal, Citizen of the Year for Community Service, Fellow of Edith Cowan University, Volunteer of the Year, the Rona Oakley Award for Individual Achievement (WA Consumer Protection Awards) and the Advance Australia Award.
Vince and Anne Garreffa
Vince Garreffa is one of Perth’s larger-than-life characters, known for his hilarious anecdotes, philanthropic spirit and popular butcher shop, Mondo di Carne. Born in 1951 in Calabria, Italy, he travelled to Western Australia as a five-year old boy and his family established itself in Northbridge (Perth) in the early 1950′s.
Vince and Anne Gareffa opened Mondo di Carne (World of Meats) in 1979 - a shop which is now one of Australia’s premier gourmet butchers.
Even more remarkable is the work Vince and Anne put into supporting local charities. Over twenty years, the couple has raised almost $2 million for Lifeline WA. With their team at Mondo di Carne, Vince and Anne host the Butcher’s picnic and an annual brunch in their Mt Lawley home each year, with proceeds going to Lifeline WA.
Ros Worthington OAM is one of Australia’s most inspirational philanthropists. She established the Make-A-Wish Foundation in WA, later becoming the national Chairperson and international Director of the charity. She also established Breast Cancer Care WA, Lovel Angel Projects, and the annual Out of the Shadows and Into the Light Walk for Lifeline WA. She has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal, 2015 Western Australian of the Year for community and has twice been a finalist for Australian of the Year. She has been formally acknowledged as one of WA’s 100 Most Influential Western Australians. Ros lost her husband Ross, to suicide in 2002 and works tirelessly to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide in our community and to encourage people to seek help. She has recently written a book, “The Power of Giving.”
Aurelio Costarella, designer, is responsible for one of Australia’s most respected designer fashion brands with seasonal collections available in his flagship store in the State Buildings in Perth and in David Jones stores nationally. Lifeline WA is proud to have Aurelio as an ambassador and champion for its work in suicide prevention. Aurelio has supported Lifeline WA over several years and provided a brave and candid account of his struggle with depression at our Black Diamond ball in 2015. Through the sharing of his story, Aurelio is helping to break down the stigma surrounding suicide, encouraging more people to come forward to seek help.
Brad Hogg is a cult hero of the Big Bash League, star of the international T20 circuit and proud former Australian test cricketer. From his childhood cricket obsession growing up Williams in rural Western Australia, to the day he donned the baggy green, Brad overcame numerous setbacks and challenges. His trademark charisma, self-deprecating humour and honesty often masked his bouts of self-doubt. During a seven-year gap between his first and second Test appearances, he turned his hand to a variety of jobs, most famously hitting the streets as a postie. Through persistence and enthusiasm he won his way back into the national team, and was twice part of Australia’s champion World Cup sides. From the bush to the MCG and beyond, overcoming crippling insecurity and suicidal thoughts, Brad’s self-acceptance has been hard won.
By getting involved with Lifeline WA Brad hopes to encourage people to open up and to see that there is someone that can help. He recently spoke of his experience of depression at the 2017 Black Diamond Gala Dinner and regularly promotes Lifeline WA’s suicide prevention services at speaking engagements and through the media.
Troy Coward finished up his career as an actor for Police Academy Scenario Training Unit and decided to take his talent into the world of feature films. Throughout his career change, he has had to come to terms with rejection and overcome anxiety to achieve his goals.
After losing his dad to suicide at the age of 15 and then losing friends to suicide later in his life, Troy has witnessed and experienced, first-hand how the effects of suicide ripple throughout a family and the community. Through this, Troy has become a passionate supporter of suicide prevention and Lifeline WA.
Katherine has been on a long journey of recovery, having tried to take her life multiple times until the age of 40, bereaved by suicide and having cared for others in times of distress. Now, Katherine is a strong community advocate for suicide prevention work, with a passion for building community capacity, raising awareness and reducing stigma. Katherine uses her lived experience by sharing her journey of hope and recovery. She is now a passionate Lifeline WA Ambassador, Chair of the Wanneroo and Communities Suicide Prevention Network, radio host and Lifestyle and Wellness Coach, putting this all together to support and encourage suicide prevention activities in WA.
2018 Event Ambassadors: HBF Run for a Reason
Michael "Thommo" Thompson - Nine News Perth’s Key 6pm Presenter
Alison Braun - The Biggest Loser in 2008 Contestant
Greg Johnson - LWA Community Fundraiser
2017 Event Ambassadors: Pet Project
Arnya Tait, Frankie and Megan Lo Surdo, Linda Parri and Darren Reid, Sarah Hepburn, Shari Lovreta, Casey and Scott Sablowski, Pam Medlen and Nathaniel Clarke, Melissa Boniface
AnnMarie McGinn – Ae’lkemi Design
Tiny Holly – Auctioneer, Have Gavel will Travel
Carla Shearman - Market Leader - WA at Professional Public Relations (PPR)