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Smiling for World Red Cross Day and beating loneliness

7 May 2018

Hi everyone,

Happy World Red Cross Day!

In advance of the big day tomorrow, I want to thank you for what you do to make our society stronger, more connected and a better place to live.

On World Red Cross Day, we celebrate the people who make the organisation so great (that’s you!). It is also part of a global celebration to honour the Red Cross Red Crescent founder Henry Dunant (it’s his birthday).

This year, we want to celebrate the dedication and impact of Red Cross people by harnessing the power of one of the most universal symbols - a smile.

We’d love to know what makes you smile about Red Cross. If you want to share, you can do so on social media and use the hashtags #RedCrossAU and #redcrossday.

Please also check out this video where our Patron, the Governor General, our President Ross Pinney and I, share what makes us smile about being part of Red Cross.

Every week I am reminded of the important work you do in our communities and for Red Cross and also how we are experimenting with different approaches. I mentioned last week about the initiative to help the loneliest in our community - 18-24 year old young men. It’s called #BeatLoneliness and we launched it with an online game called Rocket League where virtual cars play soccer. Sounds crazy I know but it's true. It involves thousands of people. The young fellow who is the coach of the online team Rocket League said the following in his speech:

“Before Rocket League I had a couple of friends.  .... I have now met all these wonderful new people. .... I have been able to experience new things I have never been able to do before....  I have flown to Melbourne. .... I have met all sorts of new people and all this is just through a game.”

Young Red Cross people led this new initiative and our youth members are now rolling it out by encouraging their friends to get involved. What a wonderful example of the diversity in what we do every day for communities. Your commitment, creativity, passion and effort will go a long way.

Thank you again for your ongoing support on this 2018 World Red Cross Day!

Till next week,