Recognised for my ability

Melanie receives her Gold Award from Governor-General, Quentin Bryce

Australian Gold Award holder Melanie Tran explains how the Award enabled others to see her differently. 

“The 6th of March 2014 is a day I will never forget. It was the day where I was recognised for my ability and not my disability. It was the day where I received The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

From the very first day when I started my Bronze Award (I was the first person to complete my Bronze Award through Muscular Dystrophy New South Wales (MDNSW)), I wanted to go right through to the Gold Award. It was a promise I secretly made to myself but I didn’t know if it was possible; I didn’t know if I would be able to take on such a big challenge.

I found hope

A lot of people said I couldn’t do it because I’m in a wheelchair and that I wouldn’t succeed. I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that having a disability doesn’t mean you have to sit around and watch everyone else fulfil their dreams. And I did prove it to them; I completed all three Award levels and took on a new challenge for each one. And through that I found hope.

For my Gold Award I updated the website for MDNSW as part of the Service section. For my Skills section I completed an online training course on a product design programme called Creo and I also learnt about film production and editing videos. As a direct result of my Service section I have been employed by Muscular Dystrophy NSW as their web administrator. I am responsible for adding new events, news articles, flyers and brochures on to the website as well as keeping everything up to date. I was absolutely thrilled when MDNSW was willing to give me a chance to work with them. Most of all, I’m glad I can do something for MDNSW after all the amazing opportunities they give me.

Experiences that last a lifetime

The Award is a good idea because it pushes people’s limits further; they can gain experiences that last a lifetime; they get opportunities that may help them in their future career. I’ve never really had the courage to think about my dreams in the future because I’m very limited with what I’m able to do physically. The Award opened a whole new world to me and showed me all the possibilities that I have. Now I can proudly tell everyone that my dream is to become a famous product designer and travel around the globe.”


With thanks to Muscular Dystrophy New South Wales and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Australia.


Further information:

The Award in Australia and Muscular Dystrophy NSW have partnered to offer young people with this disorder the chance to set goals and achieve their dreams by participating in the Award.

Muscular Dystrophy is a neuromuscular, genetic disorder which results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function.

Find out more about Muscular Dystrophy NSW.

Find out more about the Award in Australia.