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Dannielle Kelly: Barnardos ACT Mother of the Year Finalist

HerCanberra Team

Out of thousands of nominations across the nation, today inspirational mum Dannielle Kelly has been chosen as the ACT State finalist for Barnardos Mother of the Year, and will now go into the running for the national winner.

Despite going through her own ordeal of watching her son suffer from leukaemia, Danielle, 35, has shown extreme optimism and selflessness not only for the wellbeing of her family, but also in the support and compassion she has shown to other parents going through the same journey.

Dannielle Kelly

Dannielle Kelly

When her eldest son was just four years old, Dannielle was told something no mother ever wants to hear – that Liam was suffering from leukaemia. Dannielle, her husband Sean and Liam’s baby brother Aidan dropped everything to relocate to Sydney to support Liam with his treatment.

Despite enduring two harrowing years watching her eldest son go through painful rounds of chemotherapy, lumber punctures and blood transfusions, Dannielle maintained a positive outlook for her family, surrounding their home with inspirational quotes. Despite everything she was going through, she also comforted mothers she met in the children’s cancer ward, which is a very confronting place for parents, according to Danielle’s mother Mary Ford, who nominated her daughter.

Dannielle and her mother, and nominator,

Dannielle and her mother, and nominator, Mary Ford

“I once found Dannielle sitting on the floor of the parent’s shower area comforting a mother who was distraught about her child’s cancer,” recalls Mary.

When Liam was diagnosed with epilepsy as a result of his chemotherapy, Dannielle worked tirelessly to protect him from infections, but resisted the urge to wrap him up in cotton wool. She even disinfected public playgrounds just to give Liam a chance to play like other kids.

Now in remission, Liam has completed his first year of primary school, and while there’s still a long road ahead for this family, according to Mary, with the love of a mother like Dannielle, Liam is truly blessed.

Announced at an awards ceremony at the Legislative Assembly in Canberra, Dannielle was presented with the prestigious honour by Mr Jayson Hinder MLA. Geraldine Freeman and Allison Cerritelli were also commended as ACT finalists in the annual honours by ABC Canberra radio presenter, Philip Clark, MC for the event.

Dannielle with fellow nominees

Dannielle with fellow finalists Geraldine Freeman and Allison Cerritelli

Now in its 21st year, Barnardos Mother of the Year is the largest and most recognised national awards celebrating mothers. Manisha Amin, Barnardos Australia Marketing Director, says the calibre of nominations of great mothers from across Australia has been incredible this year. “Barnardos Mother of The Year aims to recognise women who defy limits of love and care to change the course of the next generation, giving children the gifts of love, security and hope – and this year we’ve once again been blown away by the nominations.

“Dannielle in particular is an example of a mother who seeks to nurture not only her own children and family, but also extends the compassion and empathy of a mother to grown adults, evidenced through her support of other mothers with very sick children,” says Manisha.

“I’d like to congratulate all the exceptional mothers who have been nominated this year, and especially Dannielle.”

Each state finalist will go into the running to be named the overall 2016 Barnardos Mother of the Year, which will be announced on May 5.

Images courtesy of Barnados Australia


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