Taking Time to Lend a Helping Hand

Kelly Foran, Glen Innes

After everything we had been through, it was when things had calmed down that I started to struggle.

Falling pregnant with my firstborn was an amazing and special time. Yet it was far from easy and caused life-threatening health problems for myself and my baby. 

Surgery to remove a brain tumour found when I was eight months’ pregnant left me with a stroke on my right-hand side. My son Jake was born with Hyperinsulinemia and later received a cancer diagnosis. 

Between us, we spent months in intensive care in major hospitals across New South Wales and Queensland. My family and I had to navigate the health system in big cities far from home. It was frustrating and very isolating. 

Growing up on the land, I had fought so hard to be ‘one of the boys’ and make a name for myself. But during my recovery I struggled to walk, to talk, even to feed myself.  

Life was tough. I had little independence. 

Naturally, my family struggled during those months. But for me, it was only when life was returning to normal that my own mental health took a turn. After everything we had been through, it was when things calmed down that I started to struggle.

That’s the thing about traumatic events. You might get through it, then six months later something happens to bring it all back.  

Then suddenly you’re not okay. 

I know it takes a lot to ask for help, but I also know that most people just want to help out 

Jake and I often used Angel Flight to get to specialist appointments. Our pilot once told us that over 200 people had volunteered to fly us that day. Isn’t that beautiful? I cling to this memory whenever I’m having a dark day. 

My journey inspired me to create the Friendly Faces, Helping Hands Foundation. Since 2011, we have supported over 90,000 country people through times of crisis. 

Everyone gets thrown a bit of a challenge. But it’s how you rise up and deal with it that makes all the difference.  

After all, life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.