First responders and supporters of the first responder community from across Australia came together on Friday for Fortem’s inaugural fundraising Gala Ball at Hotel Realm, Canberra.
All donations contributed to the continuation and broadened reach of Fortem’s mental health and wellbeing services for first responders and their families in regional areas.
In celebration and support of Australia’s first responders, guests were welcomed by the Australian Federal Police Pipes & Drums band, addressed soon after by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).
Fortem Ambassadors Cameron and Sharn Watts shared their powerful personal story on living through and supporting a loved one with PTSD, shining a light on the effects of trauma on daily life and relationships, and why Fortem’s services are so integral to the wellbeing of first responders both during and post service.
“Our journey wasn’t known to many people before [tonight], but we felt it was time to share so that other people could see us and hopefully see themselves reflected…“ said Cameron.
Multi-award-winning musician, radio and television host Damien Leith and band graced guests with music through the evening, and proceedings concluded with some spirited dancing to classic tunes from The Baker Boys.
With deepest gratitude for generous donations from Capital Integrity, Rugby Australia, Brumbies Rugby, Melbourne Victory FC, Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Walk on Water Ulladulla, Mr Kris Phillips, and Her Excellency Mrs Hurley.
We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to major event sponsor BAE Systems Digital Intelligence; Master of Ceremonies Lish Fejer from ABC; Auctioneer Alec Brown from Ray White Canberra; and to those who hosted a first responder and guest on their table: Altia, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, CMAX Advisory, National Australia Bank, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft, Stryker, and Synergy.
If you are interested in supporting first responders in regional areas, head to our Donate page.
All images credited to David Jenkins from Ghetto Media Canberra.