Professional netballer and long-time advocate for carers Jillian describes herself as “just a little old lady”, but her energy, enthusiasm and, most of all, generosity is anything but little.
Jillian is a born go-getter, having raised seven children as a single mother, played and coached netball since a teenager – helping to empower children through the power of sport – and campaigned for decades for better support for carers in mental health. Now, at 84 years old, Jillian is still active as ever in her community, supporting those less fortunate than herself.
A cause close to her heart is helping disadvantaged children and their families through ChildFund. For almost 20 years, Jillian has been donating to ChildFund’s appeals and, more recently, buying Gifts for Good. The latter was inspired by her late son Justin.
“On Christmas Day Justin would hand out all the Gifts for Good he had bought,” Jillian says. “It was such a special thing he did.”
Often, tears of gratitude were shed as each family member read aloud how their Gift for Good would support disadvantaged children around the world. “We would give thanks for the lives we had, compared to the lives of the children receiving Gifts for Good,” Jillian says.
“I remember one Christmas we had a boyfriend of someone’s join us and he received a Gifts for Good, and he said it was his most memorable Christmas experience ever .
“It was such a genuine experience of giving and thoughtfulness for him; it wasn’t just about giving each other gifts without a thought or without gratitude for what we had.”