Colo High School student Kurtis Dodds-Knott is the proud recipient of the 2016 Natalie Burton Memorial Award, an award that is intended for a recipient who has faced challenging circumstances but through their application and determination has overcome this adversity to succeed.
The annual Natalie Burton Memorial Award – a commemorative plaque, certificate and financial contribution – is proudly administered by Hawkesbury City Council on behalf of the Burton, Turner and Lawrance families.
This year’s recipient, Kurtis Dodds-Knott was diagnosed with an intracranial Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) at the age of three. Since then he has had seven major operations to alleviate the problem.
The AVM means that there is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels that are connecting the arteries to the veins within the brain and Kurtis needs frequent treatments via embolization’s to prevent complications such as stroke and brain damage.
“Kurtis is an inspiring role model to students at Colo High School and other Hawkesbury schools. His strong will and determination to succeed makes him a fitting recipient of this year’s Natalie Burton Memorial Award,” said the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett.
“I am honoured that I have been able to present this award to acknowledge Kurtis as an outstanding individual, and further highlight his strength,” she added.
As a recipient of the Natalie Burton Award, Kurtis was awarded with commemorative plaque, certificate and $200 prize money. Kurtis has decided to donate his prize money to two charities that he supports; CareFlight and the Starlight Foundation.
The Natalie Burton Memorial Award was established in 2004. Natalie Burton was a remarkable individual who died from cancer in March 2003 at the age of 32. The purpose of the Award is to provide a means of allowing Natalie’s life and her extraordinary achievements to inspire students to overcome adversity in their own lives.
Despite being diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour at 25, Natalie continued to follow her dreams of travelling and adventure, climbing lower levels of the Himalayas and cycling around Australia and overseas.
Natalie Burton was an outstanding local student. She completed her HSC exam as Dux of Colo High School, gaining the highest HSC result in the Hawkesbury District in 1987. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science (Veterinary) and Bachelor of Veterinary Science, both with First Class Honours from the University of Sydney.