As winner of our Club’s International speech contest last night, Rod Sheather is now a contender for a free trip to Las Vegas to represent Australia at the Toastmasters International Conference next year.  We all wish him every success!

Celia Berrell’s contest speech “Chain Mail Crusade” managed second place to Rod’s powerful story of “The Things That Make Us”.   Maybe some of the magic of Rod’s speech rubbed off.  This morning Celia discovered that she has just been published on one of America’s largest newspaper sites.

“Replanting Neurons” came third in a recent competition promoting Stem Cell Awareness Day (6th October), convened by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (  And today, the winning poems were posted on USA Today.  You can view them at

Her poem was inspired by the image of motor neuron progenitors taken by Sharyn Rossi at the University of California.

Replanting Neurons by Celia Berrell

The beauty of movement

Some tendrils of hope

are glimpsed in a garden

through one microscope.

The flowers of life

and the fruit of our soul

requires every stem to be

sturdy and whole.

We graft weed and nurture

our gardens with pride.

What grows and what goes

is for us to decide.

Where pathways are broken

a wheelchair can’t reach.

But stem cell researchers

are mending that breach.