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Yarlalu Thomas

Yarlalu Thomas is a 21-year-old man from Warralong, a small Indigenous Community 120 kilometres south east of Port Hedland and 50 kilometres north of Marble Bar in Western Australia.
Yarlalu’s father’s Country is on the edge of the Western Desert in a place called Mijijimaya. A Nyangumarta man, Yarlalu is named after a hill where his grandfather was born.

Yarlalu left Warralong to study at Scotch College in Perth on a MADALAH scholarship. Upon graduating, he attended the University of Sydney on a MADALAH tertiary scholarship where he studied a double degree in Medicine and Medical Science.

In early 2019, following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Yarlalu was awarded the inaugural Roy Hill Community Foundation Fellowship in Precision Public Health. He is now working on “The
Pilbara Faces” project led by clinical geneticist, Dr Gareth Baynam, and the Genetic Services teams at King Edward Memorial.

“The Pilbara Faces” project involves using new technologies to try and solve current health issues. In short, they use 3D facial imaging to try and diagnose rare genetic disorders. Of all rare genetic disorders, onethird of them have distinct facial features. This provides a non-invasive way to diagnose disorders and improves accessibility to genetic health care in rural and remote communities.” Yarlalu continues to be heavily involved with MADALAH as a mentor and was recently named 2020 WA Young Australian of the Year!

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"MADALAH is about friendship and support. I wouldn’t be at such a good school if it wasn’t for MADALAH’s help. I’ve seen how a scholarship changed my cousin’s life – he was the first person in his family to finish school, go to university and become a nurse. " Rory Charles

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