Forster's Niamh Sullivan credits her 2015 Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream scholarship as the catalyst for her discovering her passion for storytelling.
"After being diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, I applied for a scholarship so that I could travel to Vietnam and work towards my goal of being a doctor without borders," Niamh, a television journalist, said.
"It was there that I realised I loved working with people and that I can help them in ways far beyond medicine.
"The scholarship was a once in a lifetime experience and something that I still talk about to this day. I'm very thankful for the opportunities it has given me."
After an unexpected cancer diagnosis forced them to put their dreams on hold, Niamh is among young Australians urging those in a similar situation on the Mid North Coast to do as they did and take control of their future by applying for a Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.
The scholarship, offered by national children's cancer charity Redkite and made possible by funding from Coles, has supported 234 young people in Australia over the last six years, encouraging them to pursue their education, career or life goals that have been put on hold for cancer.
In addition to the Dare to Dream Scholarships, Coles funding enabled Redkite to support eight families on the Mid North Coast last year with education and career support, financial assistance and counselling services.
With 2019 applications now open, 29-year-old James Marquet - a former Dare to Dream scholarship recipient - is encouraging other young people who have or have had cancer to get their lives back on track by applying for this incentive.
Following James' 2014 grant, he became a professional rallying co-driver, and now acknowledges that some of his first steps towards success were due to the help of his $2000 scholarship offered by the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.
Touched twice by Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, the Perth local successfully applied for a scholarship to fund the build of his very own race car, which he later used to compete at the 2018 Race Wars in Albany.
"I may not have won any trophies, but the unbelievable rush of actually racing your own car is euphoric and feels like you're on another planet," James said.
"Without the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship, I wouldn't have the motivation to get to where I am today. It made me realise that my ambition to race wasn't just a pipe dream, it was something right at my tips of my fingers; I just needed to reach out and grab it."
In Ballarat, 23-year-old Shelby Sherritt is ticking off her life goals after receiving a scholarship in 2017 to help her support disadvantaged communities through art therapy - a healing practice which she used following her diagnosis with appendix and bowel cancer in 2016.
"Cancer took away my time to focus on what I love; the Dare to Dream Scholarship gave me that time back," Shelby said.
"The scholarship pushed me to start up my own online business where I sell my ceramic artworks. I also now study a Bachelor of Social Work and am looking towards a Masters of Art Therapy so that I can teach others how to help themselves in simple ways."
Redkite CEO Monique Keighery said with the support of local Coles' team members and customers in the Mid North Coast, Redkite has completely transformed the lives of young Australians.
"Our long-standing partnership with Coles has helped us ensure that each and every person has the opportunity to live their best possible life - now and into the future," Ms Keighery said.
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