By Isabella Tilley
Swimming gold medallist and AFLW head Nicole Livingstone says sport has the power to lead and change the nation, especially for women.
Delivering the 17th Bob Rose Lecture, Livingstone said swimming champion Michelle Ford had inspired her as a young girl and she hoped the help inspire another generation of young Australian women.
“I am lucky to be in the business of making dreams come true and breaking down barriers,” she said.
She acknowledged that there is still a long way to go in developing the women’s football league, but said “we cannot be put off by the depth of the challenge”.
Her fellow Olympic swimmer and friend, Linley Frame, gave the response.
Frame echoed Livingstone’s view about the transformative power of sport.
“Sport is the best social worker we have,” she said.
“It provides joy, teaches resilience, allows an escape for the spectator and the athlete.”
Nicole Livingstone and Linley Frame
The annual lunch is a fundraiser for the Robert Rose Foundation which supports people with spinal cord injuries and their families.
Presented by the RACV Club in conjunction with the foundation, and supported by the Melbourne Press Club, donations this year contribute to the foundation’s Team 22 initiative.
The initiative helps with not only home modifications and equipment for people with spinal cord injuries, but also mental health support.
Derek Young, chair of the Robert Rose Foundation, spoke of the mental health adversities that people with spinal cord injuries face, with a suicide rate five times higher than that of the rest of Australia.
Young said that the mental health support enabled people with spinal cord injuries to “be all they can be”.
To continue their support, the Team 22 initiative hopes to raise half a million dollars: you can donate here.