Carmen Jen won the Cornflower Spirit Award

Carmen Jen, from Gladstone, has been participating as an Emerging Leader this year and recently won the Cornflower Spirit Award.

The blue cornflower, a symbol of hope and courage for those living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), represents the delicate yet resilient nature of those affected by the disease.

At the Gladstone "Walk to Defeat MND," Carmen was invited to share her story with the public. She participated in the walk with her family and friends, and the event successfully raised the second highest individual amount of money. Held on Saturday, 23 March, this event was encouraging family, friends, colleagues, and even pets to walk either 1.5km or 3km along the waterfront of Gladstone Marina, raising crucial funds and awareness for MND.

At the end of the walk, Carmen was honoured with the Cornflower Spirit Award, a testament to her courage and dedication. She felt very honoured upon receiving the award.

Now, this event will be held annually in Gladstone.

Emerging Leaders program, an initiative of Queenslanders with disability Network (QDN), is  dedicated to fostering the leadership skills of people with disability. This program empowers participants to lead and influence positive change within their communities and their own lives. Each year, up to 25 individuals complete the program, which enhances leadership at personal, community, and systemic levels. The program includes a variety of learning opportunities, such as face-to-face workshops, online interactive sessions, mentorship, and community activities, providing a safe and inclusive environment for developing critical thinking, exploring leadership theories, and building meaningful relationships.

If you want to know more about the Emerging Leaders program head to

Carmen, who lives with Motor Neurone Disease, joined the Emerging Leaders program to enhance her leadership skills, build connections, and engage with community leaders. She is excited to see what the program will offer her as she continues her journey of growth and empowerment.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a term used to describe a group of diseases that affect nerve cells called 'motor neurons'.

You can find more information about MND here:

Image: Carmen Jen, a QDN member and 2024 Emerging Leader, sits in her wheelchair holding her MND Cornflower Spirit Award. A dog sits beside her.