"Dolls, you are gorgeous. Come sit next to me and have a vino."
These were the first words Charlotte Dawson ever said to me. Charlotte played an adoptive-mother slash hilarious-older-sister role in the lives of two of my best girlfriends so I was lucky enough to be warmly welcomed into the fold from the very first day I met this brazen, passionate woman.
Her incredibly maternal relationship with these girls meant that from day one, Charlotte's walls didn't exist when I was around. I was simply accepted as family by association and in many ways, this sums up Charlotte perfectly. She was known to us as 'Mama C', living up to this nickname through her nurturing nature on a daily basis.
Simply - Charlotte lived to help people. Whether it be celebrating landmark occasions, fiercely defending those she loved when they were at risk of harm or offering advice over a drink on her Woolloomooloo terrace when you were unsure of which direction to go; Charlotte was always, always there for those she loved.
I'm not sure I can say she received the same treatment in return.
Within her industry Charlotte was both lauded and, at times, ridiculed. Her very public battle with depression and her bold, open approach to discussing this highly taboo subject was met with mixed response as it played out on the world stage. Yes, she had her demons and issues (as we all do) but the difference? She wasn't afraid to admit to them. She championed the cause for a light to be shone on the dark discussion of mental health and for online bullies/cyber-trolls to face the repercussions of their heinous online attacks. In an industry where a celebrity would sooner admit to a drug addiction than a mental health issue, Charlotte courageously went against the grain to make being 'not okay', okay.
Charlotte eventually lost the long battle with her demons and took her own life last Saturday the 22nd February.
But her death need not be in vain.
Supporters of this amazing woman have launched an online petition asking the Australian and state government enforce the existing anti-bullying and harassment laws and take action against those who violate them. The petition also asks that Social Media companies take a more active role in the prevention of cyber bullying, and take more responsibility in monitoring posts of 'hate'. The petition asks that together we unite to change the cyber bullying platform.
This bill is aptly named Charlotte's Law.
I encourage you to sign this petition, share the link with everyone you know and potentially help make history in the process. Last week we lost a beautiful, vibrant and courageous soul. But perhaps, just maybe, the cost of this life can save hundreds of others in the future.
Charlotte, we will never forget you and I can only hope you are smiling down on us at this very moment knowing that you made a significant difference in this mixed up world. Your light faded too soon but shone brighter than most.
Rest In Peace.