Tributes for Youngcare founder

The young woman who inspired Youngcare, the network of specialty-health accommodation for young Australians needing 24-hour care, has died at the age of 40.

Shevaune Conry kickstarted a fundraising campaign in 2005 to build purpose-built apartments in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney because young Australians needing 24-hour care were forced to use aged-care facilities.

Youngcare estimates about 7500 young Australians are forced to live in aged-care facilities, taking resources from those aged over 65, due to a lack of alternative accommodation.

Mrs Conry suffered from multiple sclerosis and passed away last Friday. Her funeral will be held on Monday.

Her family have requested a period without publicly commenting on her life, before speaking next week on Mrs Conry's role as Youngcare's advocate.

A tribute from the Youngcare team has been posted on its website.

"Shevaune inspired a community to create change and was the reason for Youngcare's formation in 2005," it reads.

"By bravely sharing her story and journey with the Australian public, Shevaune shed a very bright light on the desperate lack of care and supported housing options for young Australians with 24/7 care needs.

"Shevaune, by nature, was a selfless person, incredibly popular among her peers and much loved.

"She was successful in her career, and successful in inspiring an entire nation to stand up and say 'all young people deserve to live young lives, regardless of their care needs'.”

Mrs Conry was cared for at her home until 2005, when her plight inspired four friends – her husband David Conry and Matt Lawson, Simon Lockyer and Nick Bonifant – to co-found Youngcare.

In 2006, Powderfinger singer Bernard Fanning agreed to perform at a charity concert to help raise funds.

Fanning went to school with Mr Conry.

He told 60 Minutes in April 2006 that David and Shevaune Conry had a special bond.

"They have a bond that is unbroken, and I think that's the kind of thing that is the same with your family," he said.

"If you are apart from them, you don't stop loving them. That bond, it's there permanently."

Youngcare now has 14 units Sinnamon Park in Brisbane's western suburbs, seven units on the Gold Coast and is about to build units in Sydney.

After the Youngcare apartments were built at Sinnamon Park in 2007, Shevaune moved out of her aged care unit into her own Youngcare unit.

"Shevaune moved out of aged care and into her very own Youngcare Apartment, along with 15 other young people with high care needs," the tribute says.

"Finally, change had occurred – an example of what could be done – and Shevaune had a home that provided all the care and support she needed, enabling her to live the young life she so rightly deserved.

"She has been the most influential catalyst for real and lasting change on this issue."

On June 15, 2011 Mrs Conry was blessed by the Dalai Lama when he visited Brisbane as part of his Australian tour, after he had heard of her work.

The organisation later became an influential lobby group for people suffering disabilities and recently called for Australia to embrace the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Youngcare's tribute says Mrs Conry created big bright sparks of hope throughout Australian homes.

"Shevaune proved that change is absolutely possible in this lifetime for young people in desperate need of real care accommodation options. That is Shevaune's legacy to this country."

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