When Brisbane physiotherapist Maria Cobain was a student at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, she and some classmates came up with an inspiring way to raise money for charity.
“Myself and a group of our friends had a bit of a tricky year in 2015, when one of the friend’s mum was diagnosed with cancer and lost her hair,” she says. “We decided to put something together to show some support, and we decided to chop off our ponytails that year and donate them to be made into wigs for cancer sufferers.”
In 2015, nineteen girls chopped their locks for the inaugural Ponytail Project and raised over $19,000. The idea has since been picked up by the Cancer Council and has spread nationwide.
Maria says it shows that you don’t have to have a lot, to give a lot, and she was thrilled when her various charity and philanthropic endeavours as a teenager lead to her being awarded a Queensland Community Foundation (QCF) Junior Philanthropist of the Year Award.
Maria says, “philanthropy is basically an opportunity to recognise the privilege that you have, and how blessed you are in your life. and to be able to give back to other people that don’t share those privileges.”
“The Queensland Community Foundation is important because it recognizes, and I think promotes those sort of efforts, to make them more of our social norm and something that we all aspire to do.”
Tara Castle from QCF is cheering from the sidelines as Maria cuts the ponytails of some new recruits to the cause: Mia, Claudia and Lauren.
“I think Maria is a perfect example of someone who is using everything that she possibly can to make the world a better place,” she says, “her time, her energy, her hair.”
“Typically, we think that philanthropy you have to be a billionaire, you have to be a Fairfax or Twiggy Forrest, but Maria has inspired lots of people, including 3 little girls today.”
Queensland Community Foundation Philanthropy Awards is in its 10th year this year, and it is a perfect opportunity to shine the light on Queenslanders doing amazing things in our state.
So do you know an inspiring Queenslander? Nominate them in the QCF Philanthropist of the Year Awards today, because nominations close on July 24, 2020.
The nominating categories are corporate, community, emerging, innovation and SME. More information can be found here.