Isaac Bhalsod: Advocating for change to prevent future tragedy

  • 5 April 2024

If you’re unfamiliar with the impact of Isaac Bhalsod, it is one where family tragedy leads to positive change for the benefit of others. In late 2022, during a time of grief, then 15-year-old Isaac chose to stand up, speak out and demand a review of regulations, to reduce the risk of what happened to his family on the coast of Western Australia, happening to someone else’s.

Here, we find out more about the young man who can inspire others to do the same.

“I was born in Perth in 2007 and have called it home ever since,” says Isaac. “Growing up, my household consisted of my mum, dad, and a younger brother. At a young age, I underwent an IQ assessment, which placed me in the top 1% of the population, leading to my induction into MENSA. Additionally, I began playing the violin at the age of 3, a passion I’ve carried with me throughout my life. My musical talent earned me a full music scholarship at Guildford Grammar School. Through my musical pursuits, I’ve had the privilege of exploring different parts of the world, and experiencing life outside of Australia. Australia, with its rich cultural diversity, has provided me with a unique upbringing. Living here has offered me experiences and perspectives that I believe are invaluable.

“Being an Australian is a truly unique experience, particularly coming from an Indian background. Australia’s vibrant multiculturalism enriches my life in countless ways, offering me opportunities to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This diversity fosters a sense of inclusivity and understanding, shaping my identity in profound ways.”

two young men in suits standing either side of their mother
Isaac (left) with mother Imelda and brother Jeremiah

On 1 October, Isaac’s father passed away on a Yallingup beach, after it took seven minutes for the access code to the nearby defibrillator to be given by emergency services.

“I felt compelled to address the issue surrounding defibrillator lockbox pins, especially after witnessing how a more efficient procedure might have potentially saved my dad’s life. Losing a loved one deeply impacted me and served as a powerful motivator to advocate for change. My family’s experience fueled my determination to prevent others from enduring similar loss and pain. By raising awareness about this issue, I’m grateful that my family and I were able to effect positive change, potentially saving numerous lives. The knowledge that our efforts could prevent others and their families from suffering is incredibly rewarding and reaffirms the significance of speaking up for what is right.”

For taking action and driving change for the benefit of the community, Isaac was recognised in the 2024 Community Citizen of the Year Awards.

“Being awarded the City of Swan Young Community Citizen of the Year was an immense honour, not just for me but for all those who stood by me in my journey of effecting change. It served as a reminder that my efforts, alongside the support of others, can yield meaningful impact. Receiving this recognition also prompted a realization: that every individual witnessing my acceptance could have faced the same situation I did when my father passed away. However, through my advocacy, I’ve helped mitigate that possibility. This award fuels my determination to continue making substantial changes on a broader scale, particularly within Australia’s healthcare system.”

young man holding certificate next to city mayor
Isaac receiving his Young Community Citizen of the Year Award from City of Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson

Isaac encourages everyone to do their bit in order to make positive change happen.

“I firmly believe that change is only possible when individuals step up and advocate for it. Without people willing to voice their concerns and push for action, progress remains stagnant. That’s why I consider it crucial for individuals to speak out about issues that matter to them. Every small change we initiate has the potential to impact lives, whether it’s one person or a multitude. These incremental changes collectively contribute to a positive difference in the Australian community. By taking action, we’re not only advocating for ourselves but also extending a helping hand to others within our community.”

Isaac supports his local community in other ways, and is looking towards a future where he can continue making an impact.

“For the past two years, I’ve been volunteering at my church as a barista, brewing coffee for fellow church members. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy and find deeply fulfilling. I’m currently in my first year studying for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at UWA. In five years, I envision myself working in a hospital, either in research or applying my knowledge directly to medical practice. I’m passionate about using my understanding of biomedical science to make a difference in healthcare. I have aspirations to pursue further studies in medicine with the goal of becoming a doctor, although I’m still exploring this path.”

young man barista
Isaac volunteering as the barista at his local church

If you know a young person who actively drives change for the better and makes a positive impact, nominate them for a Community Citizen of the Year Award at

The 2024 Community Citizen of the Year Awards are proudly supported by Department of Communities, 9News Perth, 6PR Perth and WAToday.

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