You may have seen their faces on the news, on Facebook or even on our blog.

They are Harrison Pennicott, a bright and sociable eight-year-old, and his good mate Dyson Heppell, the captain of the Essendon Football Club.

Together they make up the dream team for scleroderma awareness and fundraising.

Harrison first met Dyson when he went to the Essendon Football Club hangar and watched a training session. The boys hit it off instantly, bonding over their love of AFL and, of course, the Bombers.

But aside from their mutual obsession with footy, Harrison and Dyson also share another connection.

Harrison was one of the youngest people in Australia to be diagnosed with the autoimmune disease scleroderma, which predominately affects his skin.

He has a rare form of the disease called disabling pansclerotic morphea and can’t play in the sun as readily as other kids.

Meanwhile, Dyson has had experience with scleroderma through his family. His maternal grandmother battled with the condition for many years and eventually passed away because of it.

Dyson has since become a Sunflower Hero and ambassador for Scleroderma Victoria, using his fame and influence to raise awareness and funding.

The Harrison Pennicott PhD Scholarship

Harrison and Dyson’s partnership includes collaborating to raise money for the Harrison Pennicott PhD Scholarship.

This scholarship supports PhD students at Melbourne University to do much-needed scleroderma research.

The scholarship supports talented students to work with Dr Mandana Nikpour and the Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG) – world-leaders in scleroderma research.

Last year, we at Scleroderma Victoria had the great pleasure of announcing that we will also support the scholarship.

Over the next three and a half years, we’re donating $30,000 per annum to the fund.

The scholarship was named after Harrison because of his outstanding fundraising efforts.

Shine Bright Gala

Harrison and Dyson are joining forces again this year at the Shine Bright Gala.

The event is being hosted by Harrison and his mum Leesa to wine and dine 10 sponsors of the Harrison Pennicott PhD scholarship. Dyson will be there too, to lend a helping hand.

The event is a great opportunity for each sponsor to invest $2000 towards the Harrison Pennicott PhD Scholarship. Sponsors will enjoy a fabulous evening plus heaps of promotion through Harrison and Dyson’s networks and platforms.

Harrison: an ongoing inspiration

Harrison has been fighting scleroderma for most of his life and has received many treatments.

Despite the debilitating nature of his disease, this amazing young man shows us all how to live life and be positive no matter what.

Harrison’s ongoing activism is an inspiration to us as we continue our own work here at Scleroderma Victoria.

Thanks Harrison and Go Bombers!

Interested in becoming a sponsor of the Shine Bright Gala? Contact Leesa Pennicott or visit the Team Harrison Facebook Page.