Deborah’s life of service
Since matriculating at PGC in 1974, the purpose for Deborah Harrison OAM (McNeil, ’74) has been clear: help those less fortunate.
A member of the inaugural graduating class of a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy, The Royal Adelaide Hospital became the first place of work for Deborah. Later she treated work-related injuries within a private Industrial Injury Clinic. Starting a family in 1984, the clinic work was not available part time.
As Deborah puts it, “How the workplaces have changed since 1984!”
It was during the pregnancy with her third child that Deborah decided to complete a fitness leaders’ course. This move qualified her to teach community fitness classes, thus ensuing her true calling. In 1989, the opportunity arose to start a fitness class at a local church. Deborah remembers that throughout her schooling and homelife there was little emphasis on the importance of having money, a mentality held throughout her life.
The Seymour College motto Crescam Ministrando – I grow by serving, is grounded in helping those less fortunate, and through being grateful for being able to pay the necessary bills in her own life, Deborah allowed this motto to dictate her desire to donate all the earnings from her classes to charity.
There was a certain criterion for the choice of charities, which was to help those with no government funding and class participants had either volunteered or had family members that utilised that charity. Deborah’s mantra was simple: classes for the community, giving back to the community.
It is very gratifying to be contributing to the charities that serve the needs of the less fortunate and those striving for cures for diseases and by giving, one is filled with a sense of worthiness and joy that money can’t buy.
By the mid 1990s, Deborah owned her own musculoskeletal private practice, leveraging her own knowledge to empower people to improve and achieve their body’s full potential.
In 2021, Deborah was recognised for her immense contribution to the community, which has seen her raise and donate over $531,000 to various charities, with an Order of Australia Medal. An incredibly well-deserved acknowledgement of 33 years of ongoing voluntary work, many hours of classes and free sharing of information.
Beyond extrinsic recognition, we all desire personal pride and satisfaction, and through a career and life dedicated to helping others, Deborah certainly has these in abundance.
“It doesn’t matter what profession you feel your strengths and passions lay within, there are many ways to contribute to those less fortunate and add value to society”.