Spirit Of Brisbane Award Presented to Mental Awareness Foundation Co-Founders at Lord Mayor Australia Day Awards
Community spirit was on display as the Lord Mayor of Brisbane awarded Tudor and Wesley Vasile, co-founders of the Mental Awareness Foundation, with the Spirit of Brisbane Award, at today’s traditional Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards.
Brothers Tudor and Wesley Vasile, from The Gap in Brisbane, were recognised by Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner for pivoting their annual flagship event ‘Walk For Awareness’, delivering physical and virtual formats and continuing to connect the community at a time when it was needed most.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said he was proud to recognise Wesley and Tudor with a Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards Spirit of Brisbane award, alongside many other outstanding community members.
“In the early days of the pandemic, when we became separated from our loved ones and the things we loved doing most, we craved connection and the efforts of Tudor and Wesley to pivot their event provided the support people needed to get through an incredibly tough time,” Cr Schrinner said.
“They embody the selflessness and spirit Brisbane has become known for in a time of crisis.”
Walk for Awareness, an initiative of Tudor and Wesley Vasile and the Mental Awareness Foundation, transforms the city into a front line of support for mental health and awareness, sharing the positive spirit that the Foundation embraces.
The mission of the Mental Awareness Foundation is to support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness while supporting the preservation of life.
Today, the honourable Australia Day Awards recognised 29 of the most astounding everyday residents, among this brand new category, acknowledging those who supported the community throughout the pandemic.
With the global pandemic majorly affecting 2020, the focus on mental health in Australia has never been more important. Just under 1,000 people attended the 2020 COVID-safe Walk for Awareness event in Brisbane, and over 500 joined virtually around Australia, to walk 8km, to recognise the 8 Australians who take their own life each day.
Over $140,000 was fundraised, through donations by Walk for Awareness and other Mental Awareness Foundation initiatives, raising vital funds for health services.
The event, now in its tenth year, brings the community together to talk about mental illness, loved ones who have been lost and to raise awareness about mental health in the wider community.
Today’s Spirit of Brisbane award symbolises hope and optimism for Wesley and Tudor Vasile, that their mission to support Australians with mental illness is recognised.
The Vasile brothers have ambitious goals for the Mental Awareness Foundation, to continue to raise awareness of mental illness through community-based initiatives for years to come.
“The fact that we were able to safely deliver Walk for Awareness in 2020, both with physical and virtual event options was an achievement of the entire community and we are so proud. We have worked hard for over 10-years and each year we are overwhelmed by the support but we still have a long walk ahead and so much to achieve. We want to support Australians with mental illness,” Tudor Vasile said.
“We want to make a difference in society and we thank you Brisbane for supporting the cause and the preservation of life. Receiving this award is such a heart-warming experience,” added Wesley Vasile.
Brisbane brothers Tudor and Wesley Vasile sadly lost two very close friends to suicide in 2011. This series of events brought together a group of passionate individuals, all of who have had their fair share of experience with suicide. This is how the Walk for Awareness was born and the establishment of the Mental Awareness Foundation.
“We are so proud of the work we deliver through the Mental Awareness Foundation and being recognised, through this incredible award, encourages and motivates us to continue breaking down the barriers and taboos around mental illness and suicide,” added Raewyn Bailey, Mental Awareness Foundation CEO.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is a strong advocate of the work of the Mental Awareness Foundation, having attended numerous Walk for Awareness events, which takes in the stunning Brisbane river loop and encourages the community to enjoy the best of Brisbane and to stay active.