Meet Jess Gallagher

August 18, 2013 by  

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jess.gallagher.RECIPIENT OF THE 2013 SIR RODEN CUTLER AWARD

The Award is named in honour of the longest-serving Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler (Governor from 1966 to 1981). Sir Roden was a keen sportsman, a distinguished diplomat and the winner of a Victoria Cross in the military. During the Battle of Damour in 1941, Lieutenant Roden Cutler suffered a serious injury and had his left leg amputated. As an amputee, Roden understood life’s challenges for all people with a disability, particularly those with a competitive spirit. He epitomises the mission of the Primary Club, and was appointed our first ever Twelfth Man and Patron, a role he held from 1974 until his passing in 2002.

The Sir Roden Cutler Award is presented for outstanding sporting achievement by a person with a disability, and includes a grant for sporting and recreational equipment up to the value of $20,000 to the organisation nominated by the recipient.

In 1999, the Primary Club presented its inaugural Sir Roden Cutler Award to blind marathon swimmer James Pittar. Winners of this award since 1999 include Zoltan Pegan (Yachting), Julie Higgins (Equestrian), Michael Milton (Skiing), Ben Felten (Adaptive Rowing), Jan Pike (Equestrian), Kurt Fearnley (Wheelchair Marathon), Brad Dubberley (Wheelchair Rugby) and Ame Barnbrooke (Sailing). Each of these past winners has represented their country at the highest level in their chosen sport.

Jessica Gallagher created history at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, becoming the first Australian woman to win a Winter Paralympic Games medal. To make this feat even more amazing was the fact that she had only spent 150 days on skis and was able to win it on her 24th birthday!

With guide Eric Bickerton, Jessica, who currently holds scholarships to both the Australian and Victorian Institutes of Sport, claimed bronze in the women’s vision-impaired Slalom, capping an amazing rise in the sport after joining the APC’s Alpine Skiing program following a career as a gifted track and field athlete.

In January 2011, she confirmed her status as one of Australia’s best athletes when she became the first Australian athlete in history to medal at a major international SUMMER AND WINTER championship when she won silver (Long Jump) and bronze (Javelin) medals at the 2011 IPC World Athletics Championships on her international athletics debut.

Aside from being the only Australian athlete concurrently representing Australia in a summer and winter sport, in 2009 Jessica completed her Masters of Osteopathy and is now a fully registered Osteopath working with elite athletes. She has recently been named the first Global Ambassador for Vision 2020, a World Health Organization/ Australian Government initiative for preventing avoidable blindness and vision loss. She is also an ambassador for the Australian Paralympic Committee, Vision Australia and 2XU. In 2010 she was named Australian Female Paralympian of the Year and received an Australian Institute of Sport Achievement Award.

The Primary Club is pleased to announce the Sir Roden Cutler Awardee for 2012/13 – JESSICA GALLAGHER.