Our President and Founder, Julia Toivonen was awarded the Victorian ‘Community Spirit’ Pride of Australia Medal for her dedication to the cause at a ceremony held on the 18th September 2013 in Melbourne.
We have included a small insight to her amazing volunteer work and achievements over the past 7 years. Julia received an influx of congratulatory messages when news spread that she had won in her category.
Julia was nominated for the awards by her very proud mum.
Julia is standing on the right side of the picture wearing pink.
Her Story –
Julia gave birth to her son Ronan at 27 weeks in 2006. After her families experience of giving birth prematurely, Julia wanted to support others going through a similar journey. In 2007, Julia started our website and forum which now years later, reaches thousands of families world-wide each year. Almost seven years on and we are now the largest online community for “premmie families” in Australia.
Julia single-handedly developed, maintained and kept the L’il Aussie Prems website online since its inception in 2007, while additionally creating and coordinating events such as Wear Green for Premmies and the Premmie Hero Awards. The members have been instrumental in the success of the website, with many volunteering their time to support Julia who is grateful for their dedication to the community. Julia had minimal knowledge before creating the community and all html, php & css coding and editing has been all self taught. In August 2012, Julia registered the L’il Aussie Prems Foundation as a charity which in-turn took on ownership of the website. The committee are all volunteers and mums who have been members of the forum for many years. Each are dedicated to supporting Julia and are thrilled to play a key role in the success of the charities growth whilst ensuring that first and foremost, that families continue to receive support on a person level.
For most people, dedicating your time to one charity can be tricky with the amount of volunteer work involved, but Julia has achieved so much more. She is also an integral part of the National Premmie Foundation committee and was involved in the formation of the group in August 2007. For six years, she has been volunteering for the charity. She has held numerous positions over the years but she is the current Media Relations committee member. Julia plays a large role in their social media, has re-designed the (NPF) website, designs a lot of their marketing material, added the online merchandise store, helps to run the charities online social media and so much more.
Julia has impacted the lives of not a small community, but the whole of Australia and those who have experienced the very scary reality of giving birth too soon, just like her family. Julia does not often see the emotional impact of how the website continues to support families each day so we are thrilled that her dedication has been finally recognised and she is a very deserving winner in our communities eyes.
We hope that you join us in congratulating Julia on winning her medal.
Visit our media page to see the great recognition Julia received.