As this incredible year comes to an end, the Scleroderma Victoria AGM reported on the challenges, successes and changes over the past 12 months.


COVID-19 restrictions meant fewer events this year, with our activities moving online. These included our virtual support group sessions, which have proved vital to those isolated in our community.

Another online success story is the fantastic guest speakers. They shared their advice on diverse topics, such as nutrition, podiatry, and make-up. Happily, these popular sessions will continue monthly in 2021.


Although COVID-19 has affected our finances this year, Scleroderma managed to donate to the following organisations:

  • Harrison Pennicott Scholarship ($30K)
  • St Vincent’s Hospital ($15k)
  • Monash Medical Centre ($15k)
  • SPIN CHAT Program in Canada ($2.5k)

Our Fashion Parade, held in October 2019 (which seems such a long time ago!) raised $21K. We also successfully received a couple of grants, including the RACV Good Citizen Grant and a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). These grants funded the AGM, conference, and the newsletter printing for the year.

And of course, our president, Amanda Lawrie-Jones, raised a fantastic $7,500 with the ‘Shave it for Scleroderma’ fundraiser. The proceeds will be shared between Scleroderma Victoria and Australia. Congratulations, Amanda!

Committee members

We said a fond farewell to two committee members who are stepping down this year. Firstly, Mr Gene Swinstead – he has been on the committee for many years and is a past president of both Scleroderma Victoria and Scleroderma Australia. He said how much he had enjoyed the experience, and particularly the friends he has made. Gene will be staying on as the editor of the 2021 newsletter.

Secondly, Jane Rhyder will be stepping down this year, but continuing on as the Support Group Leader for the North Eastern Suburbs Group. She said it had been a privilege to be on the committee, and that she had enjoyed being part of our exciting fundraising events.

Other committee changes include Louise Inglese, who is stepping into the vice-president role. We also have two new members: Miriam Tawadros, a registered nurse, and Jenny Banwell from Sale, who will help to expand our reach into regional Victoria.

Members and merch

In other news, the friends and family discount has increased our membership this year, plus we’ve got new merch! Thanks to Miriam Tawadros we now have candles to sell – these will be up on the website soon.

Thank you to everyone who has dedicated their time to Scleroderma in this strange year. It’s our hope that in 2021 we will be able to safely organise more exciting in-person events. In the meantime, keep an eye on the website for upcoming online events.