From great trauma springs great compassion: Kelly Foran sets up a foundation, Friendly Faces Helping Hands, to ease country people through medical crises.

Story By Mandy McKeesick

Imagine it is Boxing Day and you are celebrating the post-Christmas indulgence with family and friends. Fat and shiny campdraft horses peer over the fence, bored working dogs round up the chickens, and cattle lie lazily in the summer heat. Then you are beset with severe headaches and extreme vomiting and before the day is over you have been transported to the regional hospital, where your nightmare continues. Three days later, you are diagnosed with a brain tumour and given one hour’s notice to be in Sydney, 600 kilometres away, for surgery.
This is Kelly Foran’s story. At the time, she was eight months pregnant with her first child. “I was given steroids to shrink the brain tumour and then, via caesarean section, I gave birth to Jake who weighed 12.5 pounds [5.7 kilograms] at 36 weeks gestation. He was born with a hole in his lung, hyper insulin anaemia and jaundice. In the next four months I developed diabetes, had 16 hours of surgery on my head, suffered a slight stroke on my right-hand side, spent three weeks in intensive care, a week in the neurosurgical ward, developed meningitis (which required another six-hour operation), and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. I had pain in every joint, struggled to walk, talk and eat, but finally I was allowed home to my son – and I couldn’t do anything for him.

This Story is from Issue #97

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2014