From left, Marie King (on behalf of winner Sam King), Professor Ajay Rane, Julian Hohnen 7, Dr Jeff Hooper and Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
From left, Marie King (on behalf of winner Sam King), Professor Ajay Rane, Julian Hohnen 7, Dr Jeff Hooper and Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

The everyday people who became heroes

THESE six Queenslanders all have one thing in common: each has an incredible story of bravery, selflessness and courage.

From contributing vital medical treatment to women in developing countries, to saving lives in the Bridge to Brisbane fun run, these heroes were celebrated in the Pride of Australia ceremony held in Brisbane today.

 

The collaboration between News Corp Australia, Channel 7 and Australia Post set out to exhibit Australia's unsung heroes and discovered some incredible stories along the way.

 

Julian Hohnen

 

Maike Hohnen and his son Julian, 7. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
Maike Hohnen and his son Julian, 7. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

 

Seven-year-old Julian, his father and family friend found themselves in a shocking situation when their boat started taking on water at night off the Sunshine Coast in June.

Forced to tread cold water for six hours in darkness, Julian did a tremendous job at keeping the adults calm, saying "it will be all right dad, we just have to swim over there."

His father, Maike Hohnen, who did all he could to keep his head above water said things quickly took a turn when Julian stopped talking.

"The only way I could know he's still with me (was) because he was breathing, and he responded to my request to spit the water out. He was in a very, very bad shape," Mr Hohnen said.

Julian suffered from severe hypothermia and was in an induced coma for 18 hours, and has since made a full recovery.

He was very glad to win his medal today - his first - and is still deciding where he is going to keep it.

 

Nadine Biddle

 

Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

 

Nadine Biddle has always been known as the "unofficial" person to contact if someone is in need.

She established the charity A Little Means a Lot five years ago, and has helped over 100 families since.

For Ms Biddle it was never about making a charity, but building a community and paying a good deed forward.

The Tamborine Mountain community have given and received help with baby needs, school fees, hospital transport, relocating victims of domestic violence and organising working bees for the sick and elderly.

Ms Biddle was glad to spend the moment with her friend, Lee M, who she once helped in a difficult situation.

"She was able to give us direction and confidence, in 12 months we've gone from pretty well being homeless to having a job and being in our own house," Ms M said.

 

Professor Ajay Rane

 

Professor Ajay Rane. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
Professor Ajay Rane. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

 

Professor Rane is a pelvic reconstruction surgeon who has dedicated his life to providing treatment to women in developing countries.

His work focuses mainly on helping women who have suffered from horrific assaults and childbirth complications, such as fistulas.

"I actually get more out of this than the women I serve, so really it's a very self serving thing that I do," Professor Rane said.

He has described fistulas as "the worst condition a human can suffer in their life" as women tend to be abandoned by their husbands, have a dead baby and become outcasts from the community.

Professor Rane has now trained 100 surgeons in Africa who take care of their own women.

"They don't need me anymore," Professor Rane said.

"It's a very humbling experience that these guys who have so little can achieve so much, this honour is for them," he said.

 

Sam King

 

A fun night out with friends quickly turned 23-year-old Sam King into a hero in October 2018, as he attended a Brisbane house party where he almost immediately noticed a woman in the pool.

"I glanced back (at the pool) and she was just floating. It was a horrible image," Mr King said.

Having many years of lifesaving under his belt, he immediately screamed, jumped into the pool and started performing CPR.

After she regained consciousness, the woman told Mr King she couldn't feel her back and he immediately put her in the recovery position.

The woman, who wishes not to be named, had broken her C3 and C4 in her back and is believed to be walking again.

Mr King's mother Marie King received the award for him today.

She recounted him saying "if I hadn't done champion lifesaver I wouldn't have known what to do."

 

From left, Marie King (on behalf of winner Sam King), Professor Ajay Rane, Julian Hohnen 7, Dr Jeff Hooper and Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP
From left, Marie King (on behalf of winner Sam King), Professor Ajay Rane, Julian Hohnen 7, Dr Jeff Hooper and Nadine Biddle. Picture: Steve Pohlner/AAP

 

Jeff Hooper and Maddison Leighton Jones

 

Mr Hooper was incredibly humbled to be awarded a Pride of Australia medal following the efforts of himself and Ms Leighton Jones in saving a man's life in the Bridge to Brisbane run in August.

The emergency doctor was 3km into the run when a man suffered a massive heart attack, collapsed in front of him and was clinically dead.

The man, Paul Rebaul, had no pulse and suffered from three deadly heart valve blockages, he later found out his rate of survival was two per cent.

Mr Rebaul described the pair as his "race angels" who believe they could not have saved him without each other's help.

"It was really good to see Maddi running down with the defibrillator, that's probably what saved his life," Mr Hooper said.

Ms Leighton Jones recounted that she was quickly awakened by the seriousness of the situation.

"The doctor was furiously working on the patient when I got there and to be honest if it wasn't for him it would have been a struggle to revive Mr Reball," Ms Leighton Jones said.



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