Home-grown innovation born from adversity
Kelly Foran’s strength, perseverance and initiative are remarkable. The Maules Creek mother-of-two has overcome life-threatening adversity on several counts, from her own brain tumor and relapses to her son’s cancer. She has blossomed on the other side with an inspirational and innovative vision to help others.
Kelly’s new website, Friendly Faces Helping Hands, does just that.
It was launched at the Narrabri library on June 25 in front of dozens of supporters, friends and family members. The site provides information on essential services surrounding Australia’s major regional and metropolitan hospitals. From accommodation and car parks to supermarkets, cafes, social workers and more.
Kelly hopes that country people visiting hospitals in unfamiliar areas will no longer fall victim to unnecessarily high prices or wander the suburbs for hours in search of an open café or grocery store. Instead, her site shows people where they can find a cheap car park or a café with extended trading hours.
So far, 27 NSW and Queensland hospitals are detailed on the site. Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries commended Kelly’s vision at the website launch. “People either grow through adversity and they make something of it, (or) they can be consumed by it,” he said. “In this case, we’ve got a young lady who has something that’s quite unusual, quite special. “Out of her adversity, I think you’re going to see something quite special grow.” Mr Humphries said he understood the difficulties country people faced when accessing the health system.
“Further west than here, places like Bourke, there are people not accessing life-saving treatment because it’s too hard, it’s too costly and they don’t have the support mechanisms or information,” he said.
“So what kelly’s doing here (is) filling quite a big space in the health system.” Mr Humphries said that medical services, rather than the Country Music Festival, earned Tamworth the most tourism dollars. “The biggest reason why people in our area go to Tamworth is medical,” he said.
“It is a huge income earner for that district but its also a huge expense for people like us travelling there. “So will the advocacy of what Kelly Foran’s doing save country people quite significant costs? I believe so.” Wee Waa residents and RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year for 2006, Kate Schwager, mentored Kelly through the RIRDC program.
She said the initiative was fantastic and had potential to span the country.
Kelly is overwhelmed by the support she has received and continues to further the site with information and connections.