About us

Our Story

The Ree Foundation was founded in 2021 by sisters Jess and Ash Pellow, along with Paralympian Troy Sachs. It is named in honour of Jess and Ash’s mother, Anne-Maree, who died in a car accident in 2000 that left the girls with permanent spinal cord injuries. Ree was Anne-Maree’s nickname.

The sisters, along with Troy, established The Ree Foundation to carry on Anne-Maree’s community service and passion for helping others. Jess and Ash believe in aiding their community, just as their mother did in her short life, uplifting those with perceived limitations, and breaking the boundaries society has set for them.

The Ree Foundation logo is a representation of Anne-Maree’s passion, music, and her favourite flower, the rose.

Jess and Ash have known co-founder, Troy Sachs OAM, for 10 years now. He was appointed a state junior coaching role, and approached both ladies to play for the Blues Wheelchair Basketball Club. He became a trusted mentor, friend and strong influence as they grew up. The Ree Foundation is now a major sponsor of the Blues Wheelchair Basketball Club.

Troy with the wheelchair basketball team

Meet the Founders

Jess and Ash smiling at the camera

Jess and Ash Pellow

In August 2000 Jess and Ash’s mum Anne-Maree (or Ree) was driving them to school when they were involved in a car accident. Ree died instantly while the girls, aged 7 and 3, sustained permanent spinal cord injuries. They spent months in rehabilitation at the Westmead Children’s Hospital in NSW, before returning home with their father to the family farm.

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They moved to Wagga Wagga in 2006 which allowed them more opportunity to follow up their passion for sport. Both Ash and Jess played wheelchair basketball with a local squad for many years. It gave them so much in terms of motivation, friendship, and team support.

In 2012 they met Troy Sachs, who organised sports wheelchairs for them, along with health and personal training and life mentorship. He became the coach of the NSW Junior Squad for which they both played. Jess went on to play for Australia as a junior. It became a large part of their identity for a long time.

As a result of how much Basketball had given them, Jess and Ash wanted to give back, and so they created scholarships with financial grants to help their fellow junior players get to the national championships. And so the Ree Foundation was born!

Jess recently retired from competitive wheelchair basketball after 15 years, but still enjoys a casual game. Today, she HELPS run Peer & Family Support Programs at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

Ash has graduated from Wollongong University with a Bachelor’s degree majoring in sociology. Her goal is to move into a space focusing on inclusivity for marginalised people. She volunteers with Headspace, working with their youth reference groups.

They are both mad Swans AFL fans, and love a good high tea where they can find one! This stems from when they were little girls and hosted tea parties with their grandparents, Lee, Fay & Kevin. Fay provided excellent ANZAC biscuits!

Find out more about Accessibili-Tea which is an opportunity to encourage bigger and better conversations about living with a disability.

Accessabiliti_tea logo

Troy Sachs playing basketball

Troy Sachs

Born with a deformed right foot, Troy was two years old when his foot was amputated and replaced with a ‘bionic’ leg. At the age of four, Troy followed his father and brother onto the soccer field and by age 11 he’d expanded into athletics, basketball, BMX, soccer and volleyball and was competing at regional and state levels.

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Today, Troy is one of the world’s most recognised and awarded Paralympians. He led the Australian Wheelchair Basketball team, the Rollers, to win two gold and one silver medal in five Paralympic Games from 1992 to 2008.

In 1997 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal and Australian Sports Medal in 2000. He is also inducted into the Sport Australia and Basketball Australia Halls of Fame.

Since retiring from sport, Troy has focused on giving back to his sporting community, nurturing talent, mentoring emerging athletes and being an advocate for inclusion. He lives and breathes his mantra that a person should be able to do all they set their minds to without limitations.

We’re here to give back and do some good

We created The Ree Foundation to enrich and enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

While our plans might be lofty, we’re passionate, dedicated and ready – with your help – to turn them into a reality. This is only the beginning…

Join us and be part of our mission to:

  • Fund and deliver programs supporting people with disabilities
  • Provide specialised equipment to support physical activity, independence and community engagement
  • Provide leadership, coaching and mentorship enabling people with a disability to have greater self-advocacy and independence
  • Provide assistance for greater access to medical or surgical procedures
  • Support and participate in research that improves the rights and lives of people with disabilities.

Our ultimate goal is to raise enough money to open The Ree Foundation Ranch, an adaptive adventure centre that supports people with unique needs to live life to the fullest.