Your Local Legend, Justine

Meet Justine, the founder of Touched by Olivia. When her daughter Olivia passed away in 2006, her and her husband John began Touched by Olivia in her memory. Determined to bring hope to others, Touched by Olivia aims to connect families, encourage social connection and invest in medical support to assist other children living with similarly rare medical conditions.


Justine is remarkable member of our community and we'd love to share with you a little more about her below.



How long has Touched by Olivia been in operation?

Touched by Olivia has been operating for 15 years. Hard to believe really! My husband John and I started the charity in memory of our 8 month old baby girl Olivia, who died in November 2006 from a rare disease.  


What do you like to do when you are not managing Touched by Olivia?

I love lots of things! I like running and swimming. I find it's great therapy, my happy place where I can clear my mind and find some quietness, plus it's great fitness too. I also love watching my other 4 kids play sport (seriously can't wait for sport to return!!) and I don't mind a lazy BBQ with family and friends on the balcony or a dinner out. Gosh how good will that be when restaurants are back!!


What is the first thing you will do when lockdown ends?

That's easy! Go to the beach followed by dinner and drinks out! Without kids 🙃



How can customers support Touched By Olivia?

We'd love customers to support our PLANKTOBER challenge by PLANKing for us in October to raise funds for our local project "The Living Room". The Living Room project involves a rebuild of our existing social enterprise Livvi's Cafe at Five Dock and is currently in concept design stage. Our dream is to deliver a more functional space that offers disability employment and community connection programs, as well as great food and coffee!! It will be located right next to Livvi's Place inclusive playground and will also feature a daytime party room for hire.  Registration is easy - simply go to  #everybodycounts #inclusion #communityatourcore


What are you grateful for during these challenging times?

I'm just grateful that we could venture outside with at least one other person, albeit slightly limited in radius and activity. I can't imagine what being cooped up inside and having no connection with real people and the outside world would have done to my well-being. I remind myself of this when I'm not having a great day and I just try and keep it as real as possible. It's not that I'm always searching for positivity at every moment, because that in itself can be a bit defeating, but I am optimistic about what's ahead. Almost a little excited now as the vaccination rates keep climbing!! 🙌



If you weren’t doing this job, what would your dream job be… it can be anything!

This may sound cliche, but I don't think I would choose any other job.  It clearly wasn't my original choice to run a charity, as I was a lawyer before we started Touched by Olivia, but I feel that I've landed where I should be. I think accepting that Olivia's death was something more than the loss of a child, my very own daughter, has helped me grieve in a way that has brought meaning and purpose. Without that I don't think there's any way of finding a reason or any sense when a life is cut short in such a devastating way. It's sure been an adventure with lots of ups and downs, but also incredibly rewarding thanks to the work we have achieved and the support we have received. 🙏💝


Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what is it?

Nope not really, they are still hidden!  Unless you count limbo....??



Want to learn more about Touched by Olivia and support them? Visit Touched by Olivia here! PLUS PLANKtober is just around the corner, sign up here to get planking!