First aid crusader named VIC AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Winner

First aid crusader named VIC AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Winner

You can listen to this interview on She Makes News. Timestamp: 00:00:10

Paediatric nurse and first aid crusader, Grace Larson, has been named this year’s Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women's Award winner for her commitment to providing rural parents with first aid training who often go without due to barriers such as distance and affordability. 

Grace said it was a “surreal feeling” to have her name called out at the event in Melbourne on Monday night.

"I was sitting there really happy with where I'd gotten to, and I didn't expect to be named the winner," said Grace.

"I was caught a little bit off guard, even though you probably think that's very strange for somebody who's put themselves into that competition. It's obviously an incredible honour, and the other finalists, their projects are just so amazing and they're incredible people.

"To know the calibre of other people that were named finalists, I can't imagine the hard job that the judges would have had deciding on the winner."

Grace co-founded The Sisterhood Project in 2022. The not-for-profit organisation aims to deliver accessible first aid and health literacy training into rural and remote communities where children are most likely to die from preventable accidents and injuries.

As part of the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, Grace receives a $15,000 grant from Westpac which will go towards developing an automated computer program to connect first aid providers with organisations and people in need. The money will also fund 90 first aid courses across Victoria for disadvantaged families.

"What we're really hoping to do with The Sisterhood Project is to be able to reach as many parents as and carers as possible across Australia.

"We'll be using the $15,000 grant from Westpac to help make our services more accessible for people anywhere. Essentially, if you live in the middle of Australia and you've got a group of people in a rural or remote area that you think could use basic first aid training, you'll be able to hopefully access that through our website and we can match you with a provider and then make it go as far and as wide as possible, and as quickly as possible, to really start making an impact on kids' lives across Australia."

Pictured above: 2024 Victorian finalists Reeanjou Ram, Grace Larson, Sarah Holmes and Georgina Morrison.

This is the second year Grace has been a part of the awards process, having been named a Victorian finalist in 2023. Grace said she wanted to take what she'd learnt through the awards process last year and present it in a different way, knowing the positive impact the grant would have on improving health outcomes for rural families.

"I asked a few different people who are involved with the award because they really do encourage you to try again if you haven't been successful. And they basically said, if you felt there was more that you could get from the award, then you should throw your hat in the ring again.

"I reflected on that and I thought, 'Was there anything else I could get from it?'. What I realised through going through the previous year was it had really helped me evolve myself in this process. And I know that my aims really are to do with the project, but what I realised was the way that I present it is so vitally important.

"I wanted an opportunity to present all the information again and do it in a different way. Take everything I've learned the year before. and have another go."

Grace will now go on to represent Victoria at the national announcement in Canberra later this year, where the national winner will be awarded an additional $20,000 grant from Westpac and the national runner-up an additional $15,000 Westpac grant. 

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