Kathy and Ralph Kelly are the parents of 18-year-old Thomas, whose life was cut short after an unprovoked and fatal attack in Kings Cross in July 2012.
Dazed and raw from having to turn off their son’s life support, Kathy and Ralph Kelly were the epitome of courage. Told by the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that their family would be ‘lucky’ to see their son’s killer receive a sentence of two years, the Kelly family never laid down and accepted a system that was at best antiquated and at worst lacking in a duty of care.
They then formed the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, which provided a platform for them to lobby the NSW State Premier and Attorney General, with the aim of amending the sentencing laws. The Foundation also began advocating for 1:30 am lockouts and 3 am ‘last drinks’ in venues across Sydney. The introduction of these new laws in February 2014 resulted in zero serious brain injury admissions as a result of alcohol intoxication to Sydney’s largest hospital, St. Vincent’s, for the whole of 2014.
The Foundation has since set about exploring how to change our culture and educating youth on responsible drinking and behaviour, through the Foundation’s brand: ‘TAKE Kare’.
The Kelly family was brave enough to front the media to talk about their unimaginable tragedy. Especially inspiring though, was their decision to speak about donating Thomas’s organs, saying, ‘his death should result in some life to other people’.
As a speaker, Kathy is trusted and credible. She delivers positive and powerful messages through her personal story of hope and faith, and there is no denying Kathy’s story is eye opening.
A loving mother, Kathy talks about overcoming adversity while keeping her family together at the hardest of times. Her uplifting story has mesmerised organisations wanting to inspire and motivate their people to move towards their goals, especially in adverse or unfavourable circumstances.
Kathy shares her story to give us an insight into why resilience, in our lives and the lives of those around us, and the ability to overcome adversity are vital to making our rapidly changing world a better place to be.