Students from Santa Maria College and Mercedes College had an eye-opening experience meeting Gill Hicks, who survived the 2005 London terrorist bombings at the MercyCare Oration.
Ms Hicks shared her incredible story as the keynote speaker at the MercyCare Oration, which coincided with the launch of a special new fund, known as MercyCare’s First Time Ever Fund, to support children who are cared for through MercyCare’s Fostering Services and Family Group Homes.
Standing only feet away from the suicide bomber on the Kings Cross train, Gill was the last person to be rescued from the wreckage. She suffered severe and permanent injuries, losing both her legs from below the knee.
Drawing on remarkable resilience and determination to triumph against the odds, Gill has devoted the ten years since that life-changing day to being a passionate advocate for peace – a role which bears more importance than ever in Australian society.
Santa Maria College students Kathryn Haigh, Eve Miller and Rose Grier joined Mercedes College students Samantha Hortin, Christina Then and Georgina Versteeg at the Oration, where they met and spoke with Ms Hicks.
Samantha said Ms Hicks’ story was a lesson in understanding that tragedy does not define you as a person.
“Gill has never let disability slow her down or change her as a woman and that is a true inspiring lesson in itself,” she said.
Christina said listening to Ms Hicks’ journey and second chance at life had prompted her to take the time to reflect and cherish the smaller things in her own life.
“Gill talked about the importance of choice and unconditional love in her accident which left her with prosthetic legs. In having the honour of being invited to listen to Gill at the MercyCare Oration I have found that it is essential to adapt and accept the roadblocks that come about in life,” she said.
Kathryn said the opportunity to meet Ms Hicks was “incredible”.
“Hearing about her experiences as a London bombing survivor and hearing her courage and passion to continue living, made me admire her drive to pursue her forever changed life. Her fighting spirit demonstrated how strong she was to overcome (and keep overcoming) her struggles on a daily basis,” she said.
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said many Australians were familiar with Ms Hicks’ story.
“Gill’s triumph in the face of such tragedy is a true embodiment of many of the guiding values of respect, courage, compassion, integrity and justice, which underpin MercyCare’s vision for people and communities to thrive,” Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall said the launch of MercyCare’s First Time Ever Fund at the Oration will help support MercyCare’s vision to break cycles of significant disadvantage, enabling children in the organisation’s care to thrive.
MercyCare is a leading Catholic provider of aged care, family, health and community services. MercyCare employs over 700 staff and 150 volunteers, delivering services from more than 30 locations throughout Western Australia.
To donate to the First Time Ever Fund, visit www.mercycare.com.au/firsttime Gifts over $2 are tax-deductible.