It is a pleasure to rise tonight to continue my contributions to this place on the positive and good things coming out of Tasmania. Tonight it is a real pleasure to speak about a remarkable young Tasmanian man by the name of Campbell Remess—a young man who I firmly believe deserves high recognition, and at such a young age. I suspect some of my Tasmanian colleagues, including Senator Whish-Wilson, may be familiar with Campbell’s work, but I will quote briefly from his website, which is called Project 365:
My name is Campbell but everyone calls me Bumble.
I’m 12 years old. When I was 9 I asked mum and dad if we could buy christmas presents for kids in hospital when they told me it would cost too much I decided to make them. I decided that I would make 1 present a day which is 365 a year and give them all away.
The local, national and international media reporting on Campbell has given me a bit of an insight into this young man, what drives him and what makes him such a special young person. As his website states, he is 12 years old. I think the reason his mum and dad told him that he could not afford to buy the presents is that he has eight siblings. The global attention he has received for simply having a kind heart is, I think, a great reminder of what is good about humanity—something we do not see enough of in this day and age.
As his website suggests, he spends his time making teddy bears by hand—a skill he taught himself over the last couple of years—and he presents those bears as gifts to sick children at the local Royal Hobart Hospital. As I understand it from the media reporting on Campbell and his story, he felt the impact of cancer at home, with his father, who has beaten the disease four times over. Campbell made his father a bear. He said in recent media coverage:
Cancer gets worse with stress, so I made him the bear, so he could get rid of the cancer.
What an amazing thing for a young child to say and what an amazing act for them to undertake for their father.
More recently, Campbell raised over $26,000 for cancer research at a gala dinner held in Hobart. At the gala dinner, Campbell sat up on stage and sewed together another teddy bear, which took 45 minutes, and then it was sold for the decent sum of $5,000, which also went to cancer research. Now he says that he wants to host one of these events in every capital city across the country—and I say: power to him. If there are any colleagues here who want to help him host that, I would encourage them to reach out. Just to further demonstrate how kind this young man is, he even made two teddy bears for the kids who lost their parents in the Dreamworld tragedy and sent the bears up to them.
Campbell has become somewhat of a global sensation. There are videos about his life and what he does. His kind acts have attracted over 30 million views online. He has had international support and interest from celebrities, including through Ellen DeGeneres’s fan website and also the New York fashion designer, Malan Breton, who has donated over 100 metres of faux fur to Campbell and has reportedly put in a good word with reputable sewing machine maker, Brother, to give him some more support.
I think everyone would have to agree that he is very much a special kid. He stated in an interview with the Daily Mail:
Lots of people like skateboarding and socialising with their friends, I just like coming home and sewing.
When we know what the reason is for him doing the sewing, again, we cannot but be impressed by how kind this young man is. The fact that he does so much for a good cause, from the heart and with such humility, is just simply amazing.
Back home in Tassie, local media have covered some of the comments on his Facebook page and what people have stated about the impact he has had on their lives. One mother, Julia, whose son received one of Campbell’s ‘Winner’ bears, said:
You really do bring sunshine to people’s lives. It’s amazing how something so simple as a teddy bear can make such a difference.
In a world where there’s more take than give, where greed becomes stronger than generosity, you are the exception and I hope everyone can take a piece of your message and pay it forward.
More recently, Campbell created a teddy bear for one of my good friends and Tasmanian parliamentary colleague Dr Vanessa Goodwin, who has recently been diagnosed with brain tumours. So I am urging all colleagues and all Australians to get on board and support this amazing young man and what he does. Go to his website www.project365bycampbell.com.au to help this young man help so many others.