Reception to Celebrate World MS Day 2015 and Present the 2015 MS Heroes Awards
Minister Miles, representing the Premier, all our elected representatives, MS Queensland board members, staff and supporters, MS Heroes, ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I bid you the warmest of welcomes to Government House this evening.
We are delighted to host our first MS Queensland event since I was sworn-in as Governor and since I became the organisation’s Patron.
The causes of Multiple Sclerosis remain mysterious, though not for want of effort by medical professionals around the world to seek out its secrets.
The effects of MS on the human body, though, are only too well known. It is an insidious disease in every sense of the word.
It is difficult, then, to imagine what life would be like for MS Queensland’s more than two thousand clients if the organisation were not there to offer support.
MS Queensland provides or coordinates highly practical physical and emotional support to those living with MS, their families and other carers.
It supports medical research and trials and the development of new treatments.
It champions greater access – the theme of this year’s World MS Day – to education, employment, appropriate accommodation and transport for those with MS.
The invaluable work of MS Queensland is made possible by many individuals and organisations.
The marvellous contributions of five of those individuals are being honoured this evening.
We will hear more in a short while about the different ways in which each of them supports those living with MS.
But it is clear that they have in common enormous generosity and selflessness, and I note in that respect that several awardees are themselves living with MS.
As Governor and Patron, I thank and congratulate MS Queensland and this year’s MS Heroes for their outstanding and inspirational contributions to fellow Queenslanders with MS.
I thank all those who were nominated for awards, and the many, many others like them who support Queenslanders with MS.
I thank most sincerely all the sponsors, donors and supporters whose wonderful generosity helps make MS Queensland’s work possible.
And in that regard, we welcome tonight Mr Trevor Farrel OAM, who as many of you know was CEO for about 25 years. In his absence, his wife Cecily Pearson and Kaye and I toasted Trevor’s birthday last Monday night on Thursday Island!
Trevor is here tonight in a dual capacity – as the spouse of our Deputy Official Secretary, and as the invitee of MS Queensland.
Last night, to mark World MS Day, buildings and bridges in Brisbane were lit up in red, which was at once significant on a generally maroon occasion in Queensland life.
But more significantly than even the colour of the Story Bridge, the community is deeply grateful that, every day, the Board, staff and volunteers of MS Queensland, the five individuals honoured today, and the many they represent, light up the lives of Queenslanders living with MS, in all the colours of the spectrum.
By the way, the background music you will later hear is the work of Henry ‘Seaman’ Dan, a renowned TI musician – now 85 years old and as mellifluous as ever.
He gave us his biography at a reception on Tuesday night, and I told him then that we’d play his CD (one of many) at the next reception at Fernberg.
I know he will be thrilled when I write tomorrow to tell him we have actually done so! I have brought the biography with me tonight so you may read the heart-warming inscription which is in his hand.
‘Seaman’ Dan is a fine ambassador for a unique segment of our extraordinarily diverse Queensland culture, as are all you, for the important segment we warmly acknowledge tonight.
Thank you all for your exceptional contributions.