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Each year, the Genazzano FCJ College Council makes an award to an Outstanding Alumna, recognising the contributions of a very special past student who had the courage and confidence to go out into the world to really make a difference. This past student has demonstrated a love of learning, and through service to others, is an inspiring role model for young women.
Rebecca (Bec) Daniher, has already made a profound impact in her field and is working towards something unprecedented – a cure for Motor Neuron Disease.
Throughout her time at Genazzano, Bec was known for her feats in the sporting arena, representing the school in GSV netball, and being part of the First Senior Boat Crew, who took out the Head of School Girls, and Nationals in her final year.
After graduating from Genazzano in 2008, Bec went on to represent Victoria in both junior and senior level rowing, winning two Queen’s Cups during her time. She had the honour of being selected to represent Australia, culminating in the World Championships in 2013 in South Korea. Her rowing success was honoured by Genazzano with a rowing squad named after her, along with other alumnae who represented Victoria.
Bec then completed a Bachelor of Business at RMIT and went on to pursue a career in accountancy, working in the field of finance as an Accountant for several years. During this time, Bec’s family were faced with the difficult news that her father and much beloved AFL personality and former player/coach, Neale Daniher, had been diagnosed with MND (Motor Neuron Disease). The disease is known to be cruel and leave sufferers an average of 27 months of life to live, with no known cure or treatment. Bec decided to make the change from accountancy to the not-for-profit sector, and took the opportunity to work alongside her dad to take up the fight against the beast (MND).
FightMND is famed for the Big Freeze at the G, an event which has become a highlight on both the AFL, and Melbourne major events calendars. Via the Big Freeze, Daniher’s Drive (the charity car rally which raises awareness in Australia’s countryside for 4 days each October), and a wealth of other fundraising, Bec and the team at FightMND have been able to raise over $40 million and contributed $28.8 million to clinical trials & research with a significant grant announcement to be made in September this year. The beanies, which have become a major fundraising contributor, was an initiative by Bec.
Jamie Howden, CEO of Fight MND, describes Bec as having a unique combination of passion, drive and professionalism. This is complimented by great empathy for others and the capacity to work equally well with all people from all parts of society.
Bec is now the Campaign Director for FightMND and plays an instrumental role in the organisation, heading up both major campaigns, as well as being an ambassador FightMND.
Dr Sarah McNab was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Alumna Award for her dedication and commitment in the pursuit of her medical career and her contribution to the paediatric field.
The recipients in previous years have received the award for their contributions as detailed below:
1995: Dr Suzanne Crowe (1967) Medical Research
1996: Dr Patricia Desmond (1974) Medicine
1997: Miss Catherine Santamaria (1962) Public Service and Public Policy
1998: Dr Jane Connor (Posthumous Award) (1986) Medicine
1999: Ms Gabrielle Trainor (1973) Governance and Communications
2000: Ms Margaret Easterbrook (1981) Journalism
2001: Sr Barbara Brown-Graham FCJ (1963) Education and the FCJ Society
2002: Ms Jacinta Heffey (1965) Law
2003: Dr Brenda Niall AO (1948) Literature
2004: Professor Marie Emmitt (1963) Education
2005: Miss Julie Chamberlin (1952) Education
2006: Ms Angela Cannon (1982) Law
2007: Ms Melinda Crean (1986) Music and the Arts
2008: Mrs Kerry Stone (1965) Social Action
2009: Ms Sally Isaac (Posthumous Award) (1990) Local Government
2010: Dr Anita Clarke (1982) Medicine
2011: Dr Judith Paphazy (1958) Psychology
2012: Mrs Fiona Scanlan (1978) Fashion Design
2013: Dr Bernadette Tobin (1963) Bioethics
2014: Sr Maryrose Dennehy fcJ (1949) Education and the FCJ Society
2014: Chloe McCardel (2002) Marathon Swimming and charity work
2015: Janet DeNeefe (1976) Contribution to the Indonesian Community and Tourism
2016: Jane Kennedy (1982) Media, Film and Television
2017: Dr Sarah McNab (1995) Medicine
2018: Julia Zaetta (1969) Media