Eighteen-year-old, Mitchell Cawthray from the coastal town of Craignish Queensland is flying high after being named the national winner of the $5,000 Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship. Seven other inspiring young Australians were selected as finalists.
Diagnosed with a brain tumour at 11 years old, Mitchell had to pack up his life and move to Brisbane for a year of gruelling treatment, leaving his friends, family and school behind. Despite the challenges he has faced, Mitchell is still aiming for the sky and is as determined as ever to bring his dream of becoming a pilot into reality.
The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer, to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.
Mitchell’s mum, Janine says his obsession with flying started at a young age throughout his cancer treatment his passion for flying never left him.
‘’Mitch has been fascinated with aeroplanes since he was a toddler. We encouraged his interest by buying him the books, little models, and watching ‘plane’ shows on television with him. Mitch would help his dad build and fly large model aeroplanes, going to the model airfield each Sunday,’’ she says.
It hasn’t been an easy road and Mitchell continues to face personal challenges everyday, but this inspiring team continues to shoot for the stars.
‘’After I finished cancer treatment and as soon as I turned 13, I joined the local Australian Air Force Cadets. I then realised I needed to focus on my schoolwork if I was ever going to become a pilot or an aircraft engineer, so I stopped being a cadet and started working to some money to become a pilot or to go to University to become an engineer.
‘’I have managed to save over $4,500 towards the cost of a Recreational Pilot Certificate. Once I have my certificate, I can then go on to become licenced. Then I will be on track to achieve my dream of either becoming a pilot, or to further my education as an aeronautical engineer. I couldn’t think of anything better than to be flying free above the clouds,’’ he says.
Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded 336 Dare to Dream Scholarships worth over $700,000 to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis.