The Young Person of the Year award was presented to 13-year-old Molly Croft at the 2020 Australia Day Ceremony in Dubbo.
Miss Croft was selected to receive the award due to the many people across the Dubbo, and the wider community she has inspired by showing strength, optimism and compassion during the hardest time of her young life.
Miss Croft was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in mid-2018. Despite the tough times, Miss Croft used her story to inspire others, to reach out to those going through hardships of their own, and during rehabilitation, she used her story to give back to those who helped her.
Molly raised over $185,000 for Westmead Ronald McDonald House by telling her story and establishing a campaign "Paying it Forward". Miss Croft has been a guest speaker at events, was the national face for McHappy Day 2019 and has appeared on numerous media platforms.
Despite showing the entire community her ability to continue to smile through an enormously difficult time, Miss Croft said she was shocked to have learnt she would be presented with the title.
"There are so many amazing people in the Dubbo community, so when I got the phone call letting me know I was going to be presented with the Young Person of the Year award, I thought it was crazy," she said.
"Thank you to my Mum, Dad and my beautiful big sister Maddi, who has allowed me to find a beautiful rainbow on some of my toughest days, and gave me a reason to smile.
"This award is for those who helped me, sent a message, thought of me, supported me or paid it forward to my mission. With the drought and fires we've currently been seeing, we all know how quickly our life plans can change, as did mine the day I was diagnosed. However, I also know that with love, kindness and the great Aussie spirit, that we can get through anything.
"As [Australia Day ambassador Peter] Gibbs said, standing together in tough times is what we do best. I'm proud to be here today. I'm proud to be an Aussie."
It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.