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Most of us know a woman who’s overcome adversity and done something extraordinary for the community.

Canberra’s full of inspiring women – they’re all around us, whether it be at work, home or walking down the street.

11 of those are getting well-deserved recognition, by being named finalists in Lifeline Canberra’s 2018 Women of Spirit Awards.

“From promoting self-acceptance and fundraising for cancer research, to composing beautiful music and working with vulnerable children, these 11 women are giving back to the Canberra community in selfless ways,” CEO Carrie Leeson said.

“I am pleased to announce the 2018 finalists, each who have warmed our hearts and deserve recognition for their amazing, and often tireless, work.”

One of the Women of Spirit award finalists is Helen Ritchie, who spent six months helping organise Connie Johnson’s Big Heart Project for Love Your Sister.


Helen was inspired to get involved, in what turned out to be a massive undertaking, by her own father’s passing.

“My mum and I and my sisters, we’d all cared for him for a year through his illness and my mum had also during that time used volunteering as a way of helping her have some time out from caring for him and also giving her that feeling of doing something that can help.”

Helen said while she’s stoked to be a finalist, she didn’t do it for the recognition.

“I did at first feel a little bit uncomfortable being recognised but when I mentioned it to one of my friends from Love Your Sister, she said Connie would be over the moon, she’d love the fact someone’s nominated you, so you need to accept it, be grateful, and think Connie would be up there pretty chuffed someone had recognised all the volunteers work.”

Helen’s in pretty impressive company in her category, with other finalists including Amanda Fintan, Nip Wijewickrema, Alison Creagh, Fay Maddison, Sally Greenway, and Yvonne Anthoney.

Finalists for the Rising Women of Spirit Awards are Clare Sheehan, Kymberlee Smith, Bree Winchester and Caitlin Figueiredo.

The stories of all these amazing women will be shared and celebrated at a special luncheon on Wednesday August 29 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Tickets can be purchased by close of business on Thursday August 23 – by sending an email to Jenine.Woodman@act.lifeline.org.au.

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