Mother of the Year using medical insights

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Kelly McNamara and her family after the NT Mother of the Year awards ceremony.

Northern Territory medical student Kelly McNamara is heading for a brilliant career if her commitment to children and community is anything to go by.

The third-year student is the NT finalist in the Barnardos Australia Mother of the Year awards and is due to head to Kirribilli House in Sydney next week for the national award presentations.

Not long afterwards, she will hop straight back into the launch of her latest community paediatric project in Darwin.

Along with her wider community work with disabled or disadvantaged children Kelly, 30, was nominated for Mother of the Year by her supporters who observed her long-running fight for therapies her daughter Vivienne (‘Vivi’).

When Vivienne was born with special needs and frequent hospitalisation, some doctors gave Kelly and her husband little hope.

Kelly refused to give up, however, and used her knowledge and contacts to track down visiting international specialists for therapy and advice into Vivi’s development.

Today Vivi can move her arms, hands, head and legs – and has also said her first word.

Thanks to their tireless mother, Vivienne and her baby sister Lilia, 15 months, enjoy an active and happy life.

They, too, are helping with the extension of her interest in special therapy and support for disadvantaged children.

Via the Yellow Balloon Foundation, the family is busy raising money for special needs children in the NT.

Kelly hopes to soon launch the ‘Deadly Art Playgroup’ to the list of early-intervention activities for young children in Darwin.

A six-week pilot of the program will see Indigenous elders and artists work with young children with learning disabilities or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Their artwork will be given to patients at the Royal Darwin Hospital, and also help children from disadvantaged backgrounds or disabilities to progress towards school age.

Barnardos Mother of the Year is the largest and most recognised national awards celebrating mothering.

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