Four years on, and Nicole Fitzsimons is still sorely missed by her family and friends.
The former St George resident tragically died in a scooter accident, aged 24, while holidaying in Thailand in 2012.
Nicole was well-known in the local community and was working for Channel Nine’s The Footy Show.
Her family and friends gathered at The Intersection Tavern earlier this month, on the fourth anniversary of her death, to remember Nicole and share fond memories about her. But the passionate St George Illawarra Dragons supporter has left a mark on many more than just those closest to her.
Thanks largely to the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation, Nicole’s story has helped educate thousands of young people across Australia about travel safety when heading overseas.
The foundation has grown significantly over the past few years, after being started by Nicole’s younger sister Kate Fitzsimons, in late 2012. Kate works full-time with the foundation sharing a travel safety message in schools across the country. She has spoken to more than 30,000 children since the foundation was started.
“I think I could just see there was such a gap in travel safety education. We have millions of Australians travel overseas every year and more and more young people are travelling overseas.”
She said when she started out, she just wanted to honour her sister’s memory and help share a travel safety message around schools in the Sutherland Shire area. But that has grown to include schools across the country. “When I started out I remember thinking, ‘is anyone going to listen?’ But there has been so much interest.”
She said she found the campaigning very rewarding, thinking about her sister and trying to help educate others to avoid tragedies overseas.
Kate was recognised for her outstanding work last week at the Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards in Sydney. She was named among the most influential young women in the country.
The foundation also promotes and provides grants for sports people, dancing and performing arts, which were all things Nicole was passionate about. Her mum, Julie Fitzsimons, said they had recently started a new dancing program, called Dance From Your Heart, specifically for disabled children.