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Dementia advocate is SA Aussie of the Year

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016

Dementia advocate Kate Swaffer has been named South Australia's Australian of the Year for helping to change the way the world looks at the disease.

Ms Swaffer was diagnosed with dementia just before her 50th birthday in 2008 but she refused to be defeated by it, instead striving to improve the lives of those who live with the disease.

She is the co-founder and chief executive of Dementia Alliance International, a non-profit global body that represents people with dementia and fights for individual autonomy and inclusion.

Since her diagnosis Ms Swaffer, from Wattle Park in Adelaide, has completed three degrees, written several books and is studying for her PhD.

Aboriginal education leader Patricia Buckskin was named SA Senior Australian of the year at the awards ceremony at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday night.

Ms Buckskin, 67, drove the development of the first culturally-based education award in Australia and was instrumental in setting up the first public urban Aboriginal school.

The Narrunga Kaurna woman continues to work tirelessly on committees and councils to ensure all children have access to quality education.

Fashion designer Paul Vasileff, who at 26 is the lead designer of couture label Paolo Sebastian, was awarded SA Young Australian of the Year.

Mr Vasileff's glamorous hand-made dresses are stitched in South Australia but stocked in boutiques in New York and Singapore and seen on celebrity red carpets around the world.

The winners are now eligible for the national Australian of the Year Awards in January.

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