Young Community Citizen of the Year publishes book to help children diagnosed with cancer

  • 14 August 2022

Shivani Panneri is a very impressive young person. At just 10 years old, she raised funds for Autism WA by painting and auctioning off 25 pieces of art. For her selfless effort, she was recognised as City of Gosnells’ 2022 Young Community Citizen of the Year. Since then, she has written and published a book, Luke And The Cheese Of Hope, the sales of which will go towards The Kids’ Cancer Project.

“I used to read a lot of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton books, which are very humorous, so I was inspired to write a funny, feel-good book. I’d like to write another book, maybe a crime investigation story.”

While Shivani’s paintings and stories may fulfil her creative side, she endeavours for them to have a deeper purpose by helping others. Like many people, she is inspired by personal experiences and the people close to her when choosing which charities to support. She wanted to raise money for Autism Awareness WA after a fellow student was diagnosed with autism. The reason for choosing a cancer charity was much closer to home.

“My grandma had cancer and I felt really bad. Chemotherapy is really hard on kids, so I wanted to help them.”

Young Community Citizen of the Year recipient Shivani Panneri

In April this year, Shivani, her parents and her younger brother were able to visit her grandma and other immediate family members in India, after a long absence due to COVID-19. She is extremely aware of the struggles that her heritage country and its residents experience (she commissioned an artist in India to illustrate her book to support them during the pandemic) and, as such, is equally conscious of the benefits of living somewhere like Australia.

“In Australia, there are so many opportunities than in other countries, so I’m lucky to be brought up in a peaceful country, which has a stable economy and a family community. My parents always say that we have the best opportunities here in Australia and to make use of them, because people in other countries are less privileged than us.”

Along with positive prospects, Shivani declares her joy in Australia’s multiculturalism, exotic animals (her favourite being the koala), beaches and sunsets. Science is her favourite subject in school, but she’s not sure whether to study that or Politics in further education. She even considers the idea of making Luke And The Cheese Of Hope into a film.

Shivani Panneri receiving her Young Community Citizen of the Year Award

Whatever she decides for next year, five or 10 years from now, Shivani is on her way to a very bright future, and those around her agree. She recalls how a former teacher wrote on her school leavers t-shirt ‘Remember me when you’re famous’, and her supportive Mum encourages her that ‘it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail, as long as you try’.

Shivani’s own words of wisdom? “Work hard, follow your dreams, give back and take care of others.”

Luke And The Cheese Of Hope is available to purchase from Amazon and Dymocks.

Nominate your 2023 Community Citizen of the Year at

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