Summer Farrelly, Bundaberg's 14 year-old autism advocate, has been named the People's Choice at the recent 7News Young Achiever Awards.
The local is known for her positive influence and ongoing support work for autistic children through her Chickens to Love program and, most recently, with K9 Assistance Australia through her support dog Onyx.
Summer said she felt thrilled to have been selected as the People's Choice at the awards night in Brisbane last week.
“It was very unexpected. I feel very humble to have my voice valued,” she said.
“This is the only award on the night that was decided by the public not the judges.”
Summer said the special award was her first mainstream nomination and there were many people she wanted to thank in helping her on her journey.
“Thank you to my Mum who has raised myself and my two brothers selflessly, honouring and encouraging our passions unconditionally,” Summer said.
“Also, my first chicken Poley who taught me that everyone has their place in the world and my K9 Onyx who has taught me to acknowledge the importance of self-care.”
Summer said she was proud to be a voice for autism.
“I would like to thank all the autistic advocates that have paved the way allowing our younger voices to be heard in more mainstream channels,” she said.
“Lastly, I want to amplify the fact that young voices are valuable, we are innovative, creative, change makers – we are the future.
“Shine bright, climb barriers and break stereotypes.”
The 7News Young Achiever Awards recognise, encourage and reward the positive achievements of young Queenslanders up to and including 29 years of age.
Summer received three awards in the event last week including People's Choice, finalist in Health and Wellbeing and finalist in the Empowering Other Women category.