2018 - ACT Australia's Local Hero
After her daughter was born with congenital heart disease, Suzanne Tunks learnt to appreciate how hard it is for many families in similar situations. Suzanne spent half of her daughter Stella’s short life of nine months in hospital, an experience which drove her to create the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation. Suzanne has rallied the community and launched a variety of support programs.
She’s raised more than $720,000 to provide support and financial assistance for families, covering everything from food and petrol to chemist accounts and emergency accommodation. In 2017, Suzanne opened the Stella Bella Children’s Centre, which offers much-needed respite care.
Meanwhile, the Little Star Beads Program brightens the lives of seriously ill children by giving them a bead for specific medical procedures and milestones in their treatment, which then become a symbol of their courage. Having already brightened the lives of almost 1,000 children facing tough times, Suzanne is expanding the Little Stars Bead Program to hospitals all around Australia.