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Introducing the 2017 Lifeline Women of Spirit

HerCanberra Team

Inspirational women are all around us. 

This includes a senior executive who suffered a long and silent road of depression who now speaks out and inspires and mentor others daily, while managing her mental illness; and a mother who devotes her time to providing positive experiences for children diagnosed with serious long-term illness, following the death of her daughter at nine-months-old.

These two Canberra women have been named the 2017 Women of Spirit at an award ceremony at the National Gallery of Australia, today.

Suzanne Tunks was announced as the 2017 Woman of Spirit and Stacey Bransdon was recognised as the Rising Woman of Spirit.

Nominated by their peers, these incredible women were selected for their outstanding community spirit and their resilience in the face of adversity.

Over 200 people attended Lifeline Canberra’s 11th annual Women of Spirit Awards luncheon today to celebrate the fifteen 2017 finalists and be inspired by their stories.

Six Rising Women of Spirit finalists and nine Women of Spirit finalists took to the stage as the smile- and tear-filled Gandel Hall applauded and recognised the accomplishments of each inspiring woman.

Speaking at the event, Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said it was humbling to be in the company of such incredible and inspirational women who give hope to their communities.

“Our community is full of inspirational people. Those who set out to do something that will leave our community — and the people within it — in a better way than they found it,” Carrie said.

“Our Women of Spirit Awards and luncheon is one way we can recognise the amazing women in our community and thank them for the work they do.

I thank each of our 15 finalists for their work and their courage in allowing us to promote their stories and community efforts.”

The Women of Spirit finalists and guests were treated to a keynote address by Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d), who shared her experience and inspirational story.

The Women of Spirit Awards is presented by Bond Hair Religion and Icon Water.

2017 Rising Woman of Spirit – Stacey Bransdon

Stacey Bransdon

Over the past five years, Stacey has silently suffered from depression. At times, her illness was so debilitating, that she couldn’t leave the house or even her bed, spending much of her time alone.

Stacey has opened up about her illness and shared her inspiring story with countless others. She has coached and mentored countless individuals through their careers and through their own battles with mental illness. She has inspired others living with mental illness to open up and share their story with family and friends, and has highlighted the importance of this support network in managing mental illness.

Click here to read full bio.

2017 Woman of Spirit – Suzanne Tunks


Suzanne established the Little Stars Beads program after her daughter, Stella, passed away at nine-months of age from a complex cardiac condition. She started the program to offer a positive experience to children who are diagnosed with a serious long-term illness. Suzanne also established the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation to provide petrol and food vouchers and small grants for equipment for parents who are caring for seriously ill children and are struggling financially.

Through the recently-opened Stella Bella’s Children Centre in Fyshwick, Suzanne offers specialised respite and an occasional care unit for chronically ill children, alongside mainstream childcare rooms.

Click here to read full bio.


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