To help share the KIDS Foundation work with a broad audience, KIDS rely on the support of Ambassadors who share our philosophy of keeping children safe and creating a better life for those living with serious trauma, injury and burns.
Our Ambassadors are high-profile people who have been involved in our Foundation through major events, campaigns or camps, and seen first-hand the impact that our work is having on children and young people.
Ambassadors support KIDS by using their role in the community and media to help us raise our profile and much-needed funds for giving media interviews, engaging their own supporters and participating and speaking at major KIDS events.
Matt Thiele is a burn survivor and Youth Ambassador for the KIDS Foundation. Matt attends KIDS fundraisers and other functions to speak and promote the Foundation by sharing his story and experiences.
Matt was trapped in a car fire in April 1999 at the age of three, he sustained full thickness burns to just over 30 per cent of his body, the worst of his burns being on his face, head and hands. He spent three-and-half months in hospital, which included 33 days in intensive care. After two cardiac arrests in the intensive care unit, the doctors suggested that his life support be switched off and he be allowed to go, but he fought on hard. He has been on a tough and emotional journey, but he is not one to feel sorry for himself. He came to the Foundation at 10 years of age, was shy and thought he was the only person that had ever been burnt. But Matt soon learnt there are many survivors with stories similar and even some more devastating. Matt believes the KIDS Foundation has been life changing for him; it has led him to gaining his black belt in Karate and increasing his self-esteem, which has given him the confidence to speak at functions, on occasions in front of more than 2500 people.
Dr Richard Harris SC OAM
Joint Australian of the Year 2019
Dr Richard “Harry” Harris is an Adelaide based anaesthetist. He has expertise in diving, wilderness, aeromedical and remote area health. His passion for cave diving goes back to the 1980’s and has taken him to the corners of the globe in search of new adventures. Harry has a strong interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first sump rescue training course in Australasia. By building relationships with emergency services locally he has been preparing for such an event. The 2018 Thailand cave rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work. In 2018 he received the Star of Courage, Australia’s second highest civilian award for bravery, and the medal of the Order of Australia for his role in the Thailand cave rescue. Harry was the 2019 Australian of the Year for South Australia and the joint 2019 Australian of the Year with his dive partner Craig Challen and is a KIDS Foundation ambassador.
Craig "Crowie" Alexander
Craig “Crowie” Alexander is an Australian triathlete and 5-time World Triathlon Champion. He was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. Craig was the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Ironman Triathlon World Champion. In 2006, Crowie also won the inaugural Ironman 70.3 World Championships and backed that up with a second Ironman 70.3 World Championship title in 2011. Also in 2011, at 38 years of age, Crowie became the oldest ever winner of the Ironman World Championships and was also the first man in the history of triathlon to win both the Half-Ironman and Ironman World Titles in the same year.
In winning his third Hawaiian title, he also claimed a new course record time and a new “King of Kona” was crowned. Craig was humbled when Ironman legend and six-time world champion Dave Scott lauded him as “The first true men’s champion the sport has seen in years.” Along with his wife, Neri, and his friend, John Minto, Craig has worked tirelessly for the KIDS Foundation for more than six years. They have attended camps and raised much-needed funds. Sometimes it is difficult to know who inspires who at the KIDS Foundation. There is a special bond between our ambassadors and the children. As with Craig, children recovering from severe burns trauma know all about facing repeat challenges.
Steve Moneghetti AM
Steve Moneghetti is an Australian long-distance runner who was born and still lives in Ballarat, Victoria. Since retiring in 2000 he has remained involved in sport as a former Chair of the VIS, Chef de Mission of Commonwealth Games Teams and is currently a Board Member of Sport Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia. Steve was awarded an AM for ‘significant service to Athletics as a marathon runner, administrator and mentor to young athletes’. He is our longest serving Ambassador for the KIDS Foundation, actively speaking at fundraising functions, attending school presentations and participating in a number of our media & promotional events.
Susan "Susie" O'Neill AM
Susan “Susie” O’Neill is an Australian former competitive swimmer from Brisbane, Queensland. She was nicknamed “Madame Butterfly” when she won the 200m butterfly at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 200m freestyle at Sydney in 2000. Susie has won 35 Australian titles and holds the Australian women’s record for the most Olympic medals – eight in total – with other swimmers Dawn Fraser, Leisel Jones and Petria Thomas. At the 2000 Australian trials before the Sydney Olympics, she broke the 19-year world record of another “Madame Butterfly”, Mary Meagher, in the 200 m butterfly.
Susie O’Neill is synonymous with the KIDS Foundation for many reasons as she shares the same name with our founder and is one of our much appreciated and respected KIDS ambassadors. Susie has inspired many not only as an Australian sporting hero, but for her honest and gentle nature. Susie takes her role as a KIDS ambassador seriously, taking on cycling challenges alongside her husband, Cliff. They have made a great contribution to the cycling team spirit, encouraging other cyclists to go the distance, raising awareness and funds.
Annie is a stand-up comedian and broadcaster based in Melbourne. She has performed around Australia and overseas, and can be heard regularly on ABC Breakfast with Sammy J and as a host on JOY94.9. At 16 years old, Annie sustained burns to her face and neck after fainting into a fire at an army cadet camp. During her recovery, she set a goal to live life to the fullest. She entered five minutes of stand-up for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns competition and became a National Finalist that year. Annie was amazed to meet other survivors on her first KIDS Foundation camp in 2016 and now hopes to inspire as many young people as possible to pursue their passions.
The KIDS FOUNDATION is proud to have Chris Scott as an ambassador. Chris is well known for his football career, being a dual premiership player with the Brisbane Lions as well as the coach of the Geelong Football Club and one of only 12 men to lead a club to an AFL Premiership in his first year at the helm.
Carlton champion and Australian Football Hall of Fame member, Anthony Koutoufides, has become an Ambassador for the KIDS Foundation.
The Carlton great, who now runs Kouta Health & Fitness, is looking forward to working with the KIDS Foundation in his ambassador role. A father of three, Koutoufides understands the importance of educating and empowering children to keep themselves and others safe while still allowing them to be kids.
“I am very fortunate to be in a position to be able to assist in the community and KIDS Foundation is a wonderful organisation that is tackling childhood safety through education programs and not wrapping kids up in cotton wool," said Koutoufides.
Darren Rutherford OAM
Darren is the Australian managing director of Giant Bicycles, one of the world’s largest and most successful bicycle companies. There are many unsung heroes that become involved in the KIDS Foundation, but there is one person that is ever so deserving to be recognised for the loyal and continued support he has provided the foundation, not only through his association with Giant bikes but his personal passion for our charity. Darren has been inspired by one special little boy, Brock, who won his heart. Since 2006 Darren and Giant have been associated with the KIDS Foundation, he, along with his friends and colleagues, has been responsible for raising close to half a million dollars!
Nick Green OAM
Nick Green is a dual Olympic rowing champion who was born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria. Nick competed in two Olympic Games – Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996 as a member of the Oarsome Foursome. He was also the Chef de Mission for Australian Olympic Team at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Nick has been an ambassador for the KIDS Foundation since 1998, actively participating in fundraising events, representing the KIDS Foundation at functions and participating in our education programs.
Denise Drysdale is an Australian Gold Logie award-winning television personality and comedienne. Denise was born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria. At 10 years of age, Denise began her television career, working in the junior ballet on the Tarax Show. At age 17, Denise joined the new show Kommotion as a go-go girl and became Melbourne’s first go-go dancer. Denise has won two Gold Logie awards for the “most popular female personality” on Australian television and in 2008, Drysdale was awarded the “Australia Day Citizen of the year” award. Denise has been an active ambassador, hosting many successful fundraising events for the KIDS Foundation.
Jason McCartney OAM
Jason is a former Australian Rules footballer, a 2002 Bali bombing survivor and current General Manager of Football at GWS GIANTS Football Club.
Jason McCartney’s actions during the immediate aftermath of the Bali bombings, and his triumphant recovery from horrific injury to return to AFL, epitomised the human spirit.
Fabian Coulthard is a New Zealand professional race car driver, currently competing in the V8 Supercars Championship. Fabian began his racing career in karts at only six years of age and it wasn’t long before he reached the pinnacle of the category, where he won seven New Zealand karting titles. He then graduated to the New Zealand Formula Vee Scholarship and finished runner-up aged just 12. The natural progression was then to join Formula Ford, which he did in 1999 when he was 16. He won the 2001 Championship in dominant style, winning 14 of 17 races before he travelled to Malaysia to compete in the Asian Festival of Speed. He drove an AF2000 car to victory at the Sepang F1 circuit winning two races by over 14 seconds.
He then returned to race in Australia and joined the Carrera Cup, finishing third and best rookie in 2004 and crowned Champion in 2005. In 2010 he joined Walkinshaw Racing. However, on the first lap of the 2010 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, his left-rear tyre blew after earlier contact, spun at 280 km/h through the Chase and rolled six times in the sand trap before coming to a stop. In 2011, Coulthard continued racing with Walkinshaw Racing, driving the #61 Bundaberg Racing Team VE Commodore. He now drives for the DJR TEAM Penske. Fabian’s ambassador role with the KIDS Foundation will see him inspire many young V8 Supercar enthusiasts.
Brad Foster, a Director of Fulvic Acid Australia, enjoys endurance events and participates in Ironman. Brad, a loyal and passionate long-time supporter of the KIDS Foundation, set out to raise $140,000, and after reaching that goal, he wanted to do more despite facing his own challenges. Over several years Brad has been battling with the re-appearance of non-malignant brain tumours that will eventually take away his sight. Each year he brings together a team of cyclists that ride distances of up to 1200 km. But the challenge never seems big enough to match the courage and determination of their mate, Brad.