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Last Wednesday was a special day for UsherKids Australia, with our co-founder and Director Emily Shepard being recognised by Rotary Melbourne by being named the winner of the Club’s Sir John Reid Community Service Award for 2021. The Award is given each year to honour an individual in the community whose volunteer service is judged to be worthy of special notice.

May I congratulate Emily Shepard on a long and impressive history of service to the community. Your commitment to volunteerism is an exemplar of the values of Rotary,” said President of Rotary Melbourne Reg Smith OAM.

The award presentation took place online and we were honoured to have family of the esteemed past President Sir John Reid in attendance including: Daughter Margaret Ross, Grand-daughter and Chairman of the John T Reid Charitable Trusts; Belinda Lawson, incoming Chairman and Grandson of Sir John, Andrew McKenzie and Trustee - Philip Endersbee.  Also, present was past Awardee, Libby Clarke.

Chairperson Helen Moylan gave a brief background on Sir John Reid and the Community Service Award. Chair of the Community Welfare Committee Mary Barry then presented this year’s award to Emily. Mary noted that in speaking about her work with UsherKids Australia, it was obvious from the outset that Emily is a passionate and committed advocate to making the lives of people and in particular children with a disability and their families better.   

More information can be found here:
Link to full story

The video of the award presentation can be viewed by clicking this link:


Our inaugural Jett’s Journey fundraising event was held on Saturday 13 Nov at both Greenhill’s Beach, Cronulla and New Farm Park, Brisbane to support Jett Davis (2 years old) and as a way to bring the Usher community together through activities to increase awareness of Usher syndrome. The day was an overwhelming success, with over 60 people running up to a Marathon, 12 cyclists of 42km, 12 cyclists of 75km, 10 walkers of 20km, 1 kayaker of 15km and 1 rower of 42.2km with all participants finishing their events to a 50+ strong crowd waiting for them at the finish line.
Over the past 2 months, fundraising has been conducted around Australia, and Jett’s parents Beth & Brad (cycled 75km) along with marathon runner/event organiser Daniel Cooper were delighted to present the CEO of UsherKids Australia, Emily Shepard, with a cheque for the charity of over $130,000.00 – an amount that will leave a lasting legacy on this small charity and enable instrumental advances in their support and research into the syndrome.
Although Saturday was quite windy, this didn’t stop the crowd from cheering home the participants as they put their bodies on the line for this great cause. As the event was aligned with Jett’s 2nd Birthday this week, the crowd was on hand to also take part in arguably the largest 2nd birthday, with all singing Happy Birthday once the events were concluded.
Any final donations can be made here:


We are thrilled to share our Hearing Test Educational Videos with the Usher syndrome and wider deaf and hard of hearing communities.  These short educational videos have been produced in collaboration with UsherKids Australia, Hearing Australia and the Cochlear Implant Clinic at the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital with funding provided to us through the Deafness Foundation Grants Scheme. 

UsherKids Australia aims to reduce the long-term mental health and well-being disparities found in both adults with Usher syndrome and those that care for them through the provision of information and resources specific to the condition. We believe this project will not only positively impact the well-being of children with Usher syndrome and their families, but will also benefit children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families nationally.  

It is hoped that this project will also benefit the range of health professionals, service providers and educators involved in the care of children with Usher syndrome in Australia. 

UsherKids Australia - Hearing Tests for Cochlear Implants Educational Video
UsherKids Australia - Hearing Tests Educational Video
We will be hosting our next virtual parent/carer meet and greet session on Friday 19th November at 10:00am (ADST). The session is open to parents and carers of children with Usher syndrome and provides an opportunity to share knowledge and facilitate connections across our rare community.

We will have a special guest speaker discussing all things NDIS.  If you're unable to join us, but would like your questions answered, please email us at The event will be held online via Zoom and registration is required. 


We are pleased to invite our Usher community to join the 11th National Deafblind Conference, 2022 in Perth 30 June -1 July 2022 at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Ridges, Western Australia.

The Conference theme "Deafblind keeping connected through COVID and beyond" aims to support the reconnection of people with deafblindness and those that support them across Australia.  The National Deafblind Conference is the only forum in Australia with capacity to educate, connect, and support across sectors including deafblind individuals, families, service providers, educators, allied health and community organisations. 

UsherKids Australia will also be supporting the Usher syndrome Pre-Conference on 29 June 2022 - 9am - 3pm, a day dedicated specifically to the needs of those living with Usher syndrome. 

Both the National DeafBlind Conference and the Usher Pre-Conference will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.

For more information please visit


We are working on a fantastic program that will continue our learnings from the 2020 USHER IN FOCUS Webinars. The full program and registration details of the UsherKids Transitions Conference will be released in late November.  

UsherKids Australia is a Registered Charity

All donations over $2 are tax deductible. 
To donate, please click here.

Copyright © 2021 UsherKids Australia, All rights reserved.

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