OAM Honour for CP Research Governor
James Hodgkinson, leading businessman and Governor of the Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to disability and business in the 2015 Australia Day Honours list.
In 2004 James co-founded one of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s most successful fundraising events, the 20/twenty Challenge. Now in its 12th year, the 20/twenty Challenge has raised more than $5 million to go towards purchasing over 2,100 pieces of life-changing mobility and communication equipment for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
Inspired by his nephew Alex who was born with cerebral palsy, James and long-time friend Ross Ellice-Flint met with Rob White,CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance a decade ago to present a simple fundraising concept which required participants to donate money to take part in an endurance course (2km swim, 3km kayak and 20km walk) from Shelley Beach to Clontarf on Sydney’s lower north shore. All monies raised would be donated to Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Since then the 20/twenty Challenge has attracted thousands of supporters from Sydney’s business community who have either entered several teams or sponsored individual participants.
As a former Executive Director of Macquarie Group Limited and Director of the Macquarie Group Foundation, James was also instrumental in securing more than $2.5million in support for research into cerebral palsy.
With these funds, Cerebral Palsy Alliance was able to appoint internationally recognised neonatologist Professor Nadia Badawi AM as Australia’s first Chair of Cerebral Palsy to oversee projects funded by the Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance. To date, the Research Foundation has invested more than $12.5million towards research projects in Australia, Asia, Europe, USA and Africa.
Observing the challenges faced by his sister (made particularly poignant when his own healthy son was born just 3 months before Alex) enabled James to see first-hand the impact cerebral palsy can have on families.
Listening to his sister talk about the problems in sourcing equipment for Alex prompted James to consider how he could support her and other families facing similar challenges.
‘It’s every kid’s right to be given the opportunity to be included in their community. Listening to Penny speak about children outgrowing their equipment before it had even arrived made me think this was an area where I could help. If there was more equipment available, children like Alex would not have to endure long waiting periods, and could receive equipment when they needed it.’
With only 8 weeks to go until the starter gun goes off for this year’s event, now is a fitting time to publicly recognise James’ significant contribution to Cerebral Palsy Alliance and its Research Foundation.
Thank you James for making a difference to the lives of people with a disability – your unwavering commitment and support to help improve the quality of life for individuals and their families is greatly appreciated.
To register a team or make a donation to the 20/twenty Challenge visit the website today.