Challenge relies on the goodwill and generosity of hundreds of individuals to help it support children and families living with cancer. The support offered by our volunteers and those who provide assistance in many other ways, makes a substantial difference to the lives of Challenge families.

In 2013, Challenge introduced an inspirational new element to the Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Gala Dinner – the Diamond of the Year Award. This award was introduced to recognise and celebrate the amazing work achieved by women associated with Challenge. 

The deserving winner will be escorted onto stage to collect their award and make a short speech, only if they feel comfortable.

The winner will attend Diamonds the following year, seated at a VIP table, reading about their achievements in the program, and enjoying what the night has to offer. 

The Nomination Criteria

Any Challenge member or supporter can nominate someone they feel is deserving of this prestigious award.

All nominations will be carefully considered by the Women for Challenge Committee in consultation with Challenge’s Chief Executive Officer, and the winner will be announced at the annual Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Gala Dinner.

The Diamond of the Year Award acknowledges an exceptional individual who has made a significant contribution to either Challenge or a child or family living with cancer. 

To be eligible, nominees must satisfy at least one of the following for a minimum of five years:

Made a significant contribution to Challenge through volunteering
Made a significant contribution to the work of Challenge through the donation of gifts-in-kind, fundraising and/or external promotion of the work Challenge does
Acted as an inspirational role model and/or support base for a Challenge child or family
Encouraged other women to become involved in Challenge
Has completed a major personal or professional achievement that has benefited Challenge.


Nadia Nickels

Nadia's personal journey with a child diagnosed with cancer has provided her with an understanding and insight that she passes on to other families in her role as a volunteer. Nadia is humble and generous and understands the importance of empathy, compassion, and community.


Andrea Zanella

Andrea Zanella has been a devoted volunteer to Challenge since the diagnosis of her son, Daniel, in 2002. Sadly, Daniel passed away in 2006, aged ten. Andrea truly embodies this award - selfless, dedicated, compassionate and committed. 


Wendy Nankervis

Wendy Nankervis has been a Women for Challenge Committee member since 2013 and a dedicated volunteer since 1990. Wendy works tirelessly behind the scenes across all our fundraising events as well as being actively involved in our camps and activity days. With an eye for detail and a pure heart, Wendy's support assists Challenge significantly.


Doreen Rogers

Doreen Rogers' involvement with Challenge has spanned over three decades. From managing Challenge's Queensland accommodation to helping in the office, Doreen's fierce and devoted work is an asset to Challenge. 


Cathie Morcom, Jenny Smith, Tracey Pickersgill

Selecting a single recipient is always difficult, so we awarded three women the award - Cathie Morcom, Jenny Smith, and Tracey Pickersgill.

Since the mid-1990s, all three women collectively have supported Challenge for more than 65 years and have donated more than 1,000 days of their time - a staggering and exceptional level of commitment. 



Anna Toman

Anna Toman received the Diamond of the Year Award in 2016 for her unwavering commitment to Challenge and her decade-long role as Women for Challenge Committee Chairwoman. Anna has been a strong advocate for Challenge, working tirelessly to attract new supporters and high-profile individuals to help expand the organisation's programs and services offered to members. Her passion and dedication to Challenge – especially towards Diamonds - have driven the organisation's success.


Sonia Rowley

Sonia Rowley was instrumental in growing the in-hospital support program at the Monash Children’s Hospital. She then took the lead in our Playgroup program, successfully running weekly Playgroup sessions for more than a decade. Sonia has also volunteered for more than 20 years in our camps and activity days, and is a loved member of the Challenge family.


Angela Scaffidi

Angela Scaffidi's contribution to Challenge has been invaluable for over two decades, significantly shaping the organisation into the successful hub of services it is today. Angela established the Scaffidi Foundation to provide educational scholarships to Challenge members. She has also been an integral member of the Challenge Board since 2005, steering the organisation’s fundamental objective of supporting children and families living with cancer.


Ann Rathbone

Ann Rathbone's dedication to supporting children and families living with cancer has been unwavering, having worked with several cancer organisations throughout her life, including Challenge, where she served on the Board for over a decade. Her experience caring for a child with cancer has shaped her into the extraordinary advocate for childhood cancer she is today. Challenge is fortunate to know someone as passionate and sincere as Ann.


Kate Bentley (Posthumous Award)

Kate was a selfless and fun-loving person who graciously contributed to Challenge for more than 20 years. She had a successful career in the music industry but dedicated much of her time to Challenge, organising celebrity visits and volunteering at camps. Her passion and dedication were so great that the Diamond of the Year Award was created to honour her contributions to Challenge and the wider community.

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