As a child, StarJam’s Founder Julie Bartlett didn’t know about her brother Ross who had Down Syndrome as he was institutionalised at birth. They met for the first time when they were both teenagers.
Many years later, Julie invited Ross to give her away when she got married. At the wedding reception, Ross gave a spontaneous speech, which was so moving that it left all the wedding guests in tears. Afterwards, people started treating Ross like a real person for the first time.
This highlighted for Julie that all young people with disabilities were entitled to that kind of respect. So with her husband, Roy, she created StarJam, a platform where young people with disabilities could show their talents through a variety of performance opportunities and inspire many others, the way Ross did.
Although Ross sadly passed away in April 2012, StarJam lives on as his legacy and as an amazing tribute to the profound difference he made in the lives of others who live with a disability.