Afghani refugee girl named Lions number one women’s ticket holder

'Girls can do what boys do': Female fans inspired by women's AFL
Related Story:
ABC Southern Qld

By

Peter Gunders

Updated

November 24, 2016 19:27:18

Photo:
Zimra Hussain fell in love with AFL soon after arriving in Toowoomba. (ABC Southern Queensland: Peter Gunders)
Related Story:
“I don’t know if the general public really know what kind of triumph it is having a young Afghani girl playing mixed football.”

Photo:
Zimra Hussain started playing Aussie Rules after moving to Toowoomba in 2014. These people have come to our country looking for a new life, and we’re all cheering them on.” “Hers is a story of somebody who has had a huge struggle in life, found a passion, and followed her dream,” Ms Brock said. Her local football team, the University Cougars, play in the same colours as the Crows, and her favourite player is Eddie Betts.”She will support the Lions women’s side wholeheartedly,” her coach said.”But there’s no way we’re shifting her off Eddie Betts’s team. I can’t wait to see them play,” Zimra said.Her coach is very proud.”This kid tries with every part of her being,” Ross Savill said.”She wants to do well, and it’s not only with her footy. Toowoomba’s Zimra Hussain has been named the inaugural number one ticket holder for the Brisbane Lions AFL women’s team.The 10-year-old, nicknamed the Afghani Axe, was introduced to Aussie Rules two years ago, after arriving in southern Queensland with her mother and sister from Afghanistan.She has already played in an under-12s premiership winning team, and been picked for representative duties for the Darling Downs region. Ambassador still has soft spot for Adelaide Crows Now an ambassador for the Lions, Zimra proudly wears a Brisbane cap perched on top of her hijab.”I wore it all night,” she said.But she said she would always have a soft spot for the Adelaide Crows. “We may switch her men’s team allegiance, but that might only happen if we can get Eddie to move to Brisbane,” he laughed.The Crows sent Zimra a jersey, and Betts signed a birthday card that proudly sits next to Zimra’s Lions plaque.”It’s that sort of response that has been amazing,” Mr Savill said.”The wider community has just been brilliant.”It’s wonderful to see the support for people like Zimra. “There is a lot of talent out here,” she said. (Facebook: University Cougars)
Zimra and her family are part of the Hazara, a group heavily persecuted by the Taliban.She is one of dozens of refugee children in the regional city who have joined the University Cougars AFL team. Brisbane Lions Women’s chief executive Breeanna Brock said the young footballer embodied everything the AFL wanted to celebrate. “It’s amazing to be the number one ticket holder. I think people resonate with that kind of story.” The AFL national women’s league will kick off early in 2017, and Ms Brock is confident many young players from southern Queensland will have a future on the big stage. As the number one ticket holder, Zimra has been invited to play a role at the very first AFLW game in Brisbane in 2017.
Map:
Toowoomba 4350

Fans of women's league want 'deeper connection', AFL warned

Meet nine-year-old Hunter: Rhino saviour and wildlife warrior

Map:
Australia
ABC News Breakfast

By

Patrick Wood

Updated

November 24, 2016 16:34:59

Video: Hunter Mitchell will receive the Wildlife Warrior award from Australia Zoo

(ABC News)
“I’m really angry that bad people are poaching these beautiful creatures so I want to make a difference to the world to stop rhino poaching,” Hunter said.Illegal poaching has decimated the rhino population in Africa in the past few decades and has brought the black rhino species to the brink of extinction.Conservation group the World Wildlife Fund estimates about 96 per cent of black rhinos were killed by poachers between 1970 and 1992, but conservation efforts have seen the population bounce back in recent years.Aquila Private Game Reserve conservation manager Divan Grobler said Osita was doing well and was a success story for conservationists.”He is weighing about 600kg at the moment [and] he’s very playful,” he told ABC News Breakfast.”We had to take [him] … (Supplied)
The award is recognition for Hunter’s efforts on behalf of Osita and rhino conservation in South Africa, but his work isn’t done yet.He visits Osita regularly, taking part in feeding and bathing tasks, and has also set his sights on bigger goals. When nine-year-old South African boy Hunter Mitchell heard about a baby rhinoceros that had been abandoned by its mother, he knew he had to help.The budding conservationist and keen rhino fan quickly organised a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to care for the calf — named Osita — which was at a nearby game reserve.”On the news I found out about this abandoned baby rhino who was born at Aquila Private Game Reserve, which is two hours from Cape Town,” Hunter told ABC News Breakfast.”I decided to help because he was really cute and he wasn’t going to live without his mother.”So I started to raise money for him.”Hunter’s public appeal raised more than 75,000 South African rand ($7,000) and he has since become an ambassador for the Aquila reserve.His efforts have brought him all the way to Australia, where he will be presented with the Visionary Wildlife Warrior award from Australia Zoo in Queensland this weekend. Photo:
Hunter Mitchell and Osita have formed a strong bond since the baby rhino was abandoned by his mother. into our own hands because we can’t lose that genetics.”That one genetics is so vital for conservation going forward into the rhino genetics pool for Africa.”

Queensland woman with rare ‘stiff person syndrome’ walks again thanks to new treatment

Map:
Toowoomba 4350
Dr Geffen said before the surgery Mrs Hodges was unable to walk, use the toilet herself and would shake uncontrollably and then become very stiff and rigid.”I knew from my experience that it would have been impossible for somebody to pretend the symptoms,” Dr Geffen said. Photo:
Mrs Hodges said meeting Dr Saul Geffen in June was a moment that changed her future. (ABC News: Donna Field)
Rhonda Hodges said she remained determined to find out what was wrong despite being misdiagnosed.”Well I was really ticked off,” she said.”I really was, because I knew it wasn’t in my head and I was so furious with the doctors saying it was in my head.”Dr Geffen arranged for her to see neurologists at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital where a path was charted for her to have groundbreaking treatment.”People like Rhonda are the reason I do the job I do, Dr Geffen said.”It is the reward to really change people’s lives that makes this a wonderful rewarding career choice.”Neurosurgeon Rob Campbell conducted the surgery — inserting a pump that administers the drug baclofen.He said the procedure was used to treat other conditions, like cerebral palsy, but had never been used for stiff person syndrome in Australia.”The step forward here has been to push this envelope wider — to deal with this condition, this rare condition,” Dr Campbell said.He said the world is full of rare disease and it is important for doctors to keep an open mind.”Labels that are inappropriately attached to patients in diagnoses sometimes are very hard to shift, ” he said.Mrs Hodges had thought she was destined to go into a nursing home, but instead she is planning her visit to her grandchildren in Townsville for Christmas.”So this is just a miracle,” she said.”It did take a terrible toll on the family, but now that I’m better they just couldn’t be happier.”The medical team is hoping Rhonda Hodges’ story will resonate with other people in Australia who may suffer from stiff person syndrome. After being bedridden for 12 years, a Queensland woman with a rare condition is able to walk again thanks to the work of Brisbane doctors.Rhonda Hodges has stiff person syndrome and in an Australian first, doctors at the Mater Hospital inserted a pump that injects a drug into her spinal cord giving her mobility again.The 61-year-old from Toowoomba had been told her problem was all in her head.It was not until a chance meeting in June with a specialist in rehabilitation medicine, Doctor Saul Geffen, that her future changed.”When I saw my toes bend, I went ‘yes!'”, Mrs Hodges said.
(ABC: Donna Field) By Donna Field

Updated

November 24, 2016 16:46:04

Photo:
Rhonda Hodges (right) was unable to walk before her treatment.