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Limb Difference Awareness Week Media Release

18-24 October 2019

#CelebrateDifference
Limb Difference Awareness Week (18-24 October) highlights how adaptable, determined and innovative people can be.

Can you imagine what life would be like if you were missing fingers or your hand? Playing your favorite sport, instrument, going to work or using a smartphone might be a challenge! But having a hand or limb difference shouldn’t stop anyone from doing the things that most of us take for granted. Limb Difference Awareness Week (18-24 October) highlights how adaptable, determined and innovative people can be.

Around 3 in every 10,000 children are born with a hand difference. In addition, people can lose fingers as a result of illness or injury. Aussie Hands is an organisation that exists to provide a network of support, information and encouragement to help every person achieve their potential in life. Limb Difference Awareness Week helps us to celebrate difference, get inspired and see opportunities, not limitations.

Related to Limb Difference Awareness Week is a major research initiative at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute called the Australian Hand Difference Register (AHDR). The AHDR is a database of children born with a hand difference. The purpose is to determine the prevalence and causes of hand differences. Launched in 2018, the AHDR has now been rolled out across Australia. The AHDR is co-funded by Aussie Hands and the Australasian Foundation for Plastic Surgery.

Contact:
Brooke Young, Chairperson, Aussie Hands
Mob: 0417128097 E: brookemyoung09@gmail.com
https://www.aussiehands.org/?s=limb+difference+awareness+week | www.mcri.edu.au/ahdr




Welcome Belinda to the Aussie Hands Community!

From the Chairperson, Brooke Young

Aussie Hands is pleased to announce that Belinda von Bibra has been appointed as the part-time Aussie Hands National Coordinator, commencing in October.

Aussie Hands is pleased to announce that Belinda von Bibra has been appointed as the part-time Aussie Hands National Coordinator, commencing in October.

Belinda has been actively involved in community and health sectors during her career working within public, private and not-for-profit organisations. She is passionate about understanding individual and community needs and works collaboratively to develop innovative solutions.

She holds other roles with the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Brisbane and is a Non-Executive Director and Company Secretary for Suncare Community Services.

In the past, Belinda has worked as National Research Director for the Emergency Medicine Foundation, and successfully implemented a new funding system to expand their services and research initiatives. She managed the University of Southern Queensland’s commercialisation unit and led the team to raise its first multi-million dollar research investment to establish a Smart Assistive and Independent Living research program that focussed on addressing the barriers to adoption of technologies in communities. The program developed new models of care that enabled Queenslanders with special needs to remain independent and in their own homes.

Belinda studied at Queensland University of Technology and holds a Bachelor of Biotech Innovation and an MBA. She was awarded Outstanding Young Alumni award by QUT in 2006. Belinda is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As the mother of three young children and an auntie to a child with a hand difference, Belinda is passionate about encouraging all children to achieve their potential, build confidence and develop a positive self image. Belinda is based in Brisbane.

We are confident that Belinda’s experience and personal qualities, energy, positive approach and passion for Aussie Hands will help her connect effectively with members across Australia. The focus of the role is member communication, project management and ensuring that Aussie Hands continues to meet the changing needs of members.

Please join us in welcoming Belinda to the Aussie Hands community!

Kind regards,

Brooke Young
Chairperson, Aussie Hands




Member Update

From the Chairperson, Brooke Young

Spring has sprung across Australia and it is also a time for growth and renewal at Aussie Hands.

We have some exciting things happening and I wanted to update you on 5 things:

1. Expanding our Volunteer Team

Aussie Hands relies on you! We exist to support people with a hand difference achieve their potential; share information and resources and invest in research about hand differences.

Thank you to all members who give of their valuable time to make our organisation a success. Whether you help out at events, work as an Interstate Coordinator, serve as a Board Member or share your stories on Facebook, we need you to achieve our objectives.

Our team of volunteers has expanded recently – we now have specialist volunteers in events, marketing and communication and administration. Some volunteers are Aussie Hands members and some are recruited through the Boroondara Volunteer Resource Centre, the Genetic Support Network of Victoria and through Aussie Hands members. Please join with me in welcoming James McClusky, Devni Kudewela, Lillian Nguyen, Vinnie Chen and Cassie Muller.

The Aussie Hands Office has had a spring clean and has moved to Level 3 of Ross House, located in the heart of Melbourne (247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne).

2. Australian Hand Difference Register (AHDR)

It is estimated that 3 in every 1000 children are born with a hand difference. The causes are not yet known, but the AHDR is designed to find our more. Aussie Hands is a partner in this research and is a co-funder. The following hospitals are now participating:
o The Royal Children’s Hospital
o Monash Children’s Hospital
o Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick
o The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
o Queensland Children’s Hospital (formerly Lady Cilento)
o Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital
o Perth Children’s Hospital (formerly Princess Margaret
If you would like to be involved contact ahdr@mcri.edu.au. If you would like to make a donation, this can be done through https://www.aussiehands.org/donate/

3. Research Project – Impact of hand differences on children

Lucy McDougall from the Australian Hand Difference Register research team has completed a study on the impact of hand difference on children. The study reports that a child’s function, perception of appearance and social interactions are impacts and there are also positive aspects of having a hand difference. Find out more here.

Finally, thank you for being involved with Aussie Hands. It is a community that shares experiences, ideas, resources, inspiring stories and helps people with a hand difference achieve their potential. I encourage you to come along to events and workshops in your local area or get involved online through our Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

Kind regards,

Brooke Young
Chairperson, Aussie Hands