Founder and CEO of children's charity TLC for Kids Tim Conolan has been named Australia's Local Hero for 2014.
Tim Conolan has been a hero for millions of sick children over the past 15 years and now the title is official.
The Victorian founder and boss of children's charity TLC For Kids has been named Australia's Local Hero for 2014 by the National Australia Day Council.
"To say that I'm overwhelmed is a complete understatement," the 44-year-old said as he accepted the honour in Canberra on Saturday.
He says he set up TLC for Kids because of a lack of services for sick children.
"I believe that any sick child, regardless of their illness, has a right to support," he said.
And all sick children should have the opportunity to smile, he said.
"I believe that we are living in the best country in the world and with enough support and everyone getting behind us we can all make a difference. So let's make 2014 the year of the smile," he said.
He said the real heroes were the sick children, their families and the hospital staff that help them everyday.
Started in 1998, Mr Conolan's charity offers practical and emotional support to ill youngsters and their families at hundreds of hospitals across the country.
One of TLC's programs includes supplying therapeutic toys and items used by health-care professionals to guide children through frightening and painful procedures.
As a young man Mr Conolan was asked to address a cancer support group as a motivational speaker, where he was inspired to help some of the seriously-ill children he met.
Since then the entrepreneur has made it his mission to ensure all children in hospital have the support they need.