Brave, outrageous and adventurous – Meet Jamal

Jamal loves watching videos and playing games on his iPad. He also loves building Lego, reading Superhero books, and playing card games. Jamal’s favourite superhero is the Hulk.

“Hulk is possibly my favourite superhero because he’s strong and I want to have the strength and the heart… I want to have those things”


Jamal has been learning to swim since he was 3 yo and about 3 years ago started training with the Melbourne Southern Special Olympics Squad. He has competed in many Regional Special Olympic Meets and has won many ribbons. Jamal and his family will travel to Knox, Footscray, and even Echuca for these Meets.

Recently Jamal competed in the Victorian State Special Olympic Games where he won 2 Gold and 2 Silver medals which was a great achievement. He completed 25m Freestyle, 25m Backstroke, and 50m Backstroke and was a member of the 4x25m Freestyle Relay Team.

Jamal also enjoys playing Netball. He trains every Monday after school and competes in a Netball tournament once a term where his team plays against other All Abilities Teams. Jamal loves to play Centre but doesn’t really like running (haha!).

To build up his strength and balance Jamal attends physio twice a week. Jamal particularly loves boxing exercises.

People with Prader-Willi Syndrome are kind, resilient, wonderful individuals, they have goals, dreams, and aspirations just like everyone else. Families strive to support their loved ones with Prader-Willi Syndrome and help them live their best life and this year want to bring awareness to others to ‘see their child as they see themselves – the whole person rather than just a person with a Prader-Willi Syndrome’.

In May, the 15 for 15 Challenge will raise awareness and funds for Prader-Willi Syndrome. Money raised will assist the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University to continue developing a desperately needed state-wide, evidence-based model of care for children with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

The project is led by Professor Katrina Williams of the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University in close consultation with Associate Professor Tom Connell from The Royal Children’s Hospital. Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, a partnership between leading health service, teaching and research organisations, will support the state-wide plan by working with all stakeholders, including children, families, carers and front-line clinicians, to identify and prioritise elements of the best care. The elements that will be prioritised include specific interventions and supports, models of care, location of care and key principles of care.

The program is being developed for implementation at both major Victorian paediatric hospitals (Monash Children’s Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital with regional links.

The model will be designed for implementation across all Australian hospitals that care for children with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Funds will also be directed to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria (PWSA Victoria) to ensure the continuity and growth of the vital supports and services we provide to our community.

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Article By Renee Zilm

Renee excels in enhancing business operations by refining processes, ensuring organisations function with greater efficiency, effectiveness, and strategic insight. Beyond her professional expertise, Renee is a mother to four children. Her life took a poignant turn when her second youngest child was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome shortly after birth. Embracing this challenge with grace, Renee now dedicates her time to caring for her son while also committing herself wholeheartedly to her role as President of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria.

Ever since her son Harvey’s diagnosis, Renee has been a force of change, initiating and steering innovative programs and services designed to empower individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Renee is deeply invested in the tenets of social justice and inclusion, driven by the conviction that individuals with disabilities deserve equitable access to support and resources necessary for a full and inclusive life. Her profound dedication to her work and her family reflects an overarching mission to ensure that every individual with disabilities can thrive in a supportive and inclusive society.