Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pedestrian Death Fatality 'One Punch Killing' Kings Cross, Sydney News.com.au 21.9.13 Community Safety

Thomas Kelly's parents Kathy and Ralph Kelly deliver powerful speeches about son's legacy

Thomas Kelly's mum Kathy describes the impact of his death on her family.
Thomas Kelly died after being king hit in Kings Cross on July 7 2012. Picture: Supplied
Thomas Kelly died after being king hit in Kings Cross on July 7 2012. Picture: Supplied
KATHY Kelly remembers the phone call.
She was at home and just preparing to turn in for the night with husband Ralph. It was 10:30pm. She knew when the phone rang it had something to do with her son, Thomas, 18.
But Mrs Kelly wasn't worried. Thomas was out for his first big night in the city with his new girlfriend and she simply thought he was asking for directions.
When the caller said they were from St Vincent's hospital she gave the phone to her husband, unable to listen to what was coming.
It was the beginning of the worst night of their lives. Thomas, brimming with life just hours earlier, was in hospital on life support.
Kelly Foundation Fundraising
The family ... Madeleine, Kathy and Ralph Kelly at the Thomas Kelly Foundation Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday. Picture: News Corp Australia
A year after Thomas's terrible death in Kings Cross after being punched by a drunken stranger, the Kelly family officially launched a foundation in their son's name dedicated to bringing an end to the spate of alcohol-fuelled violence.
Mrs Kelly gave an emotional and moving speech to the gathered crowd at Star casino in Sydney, recalling the events of that nightmarish evening, leaving many in tears.
Mr Kelly talked about the pain of losing his son and the future of the Thomas Kelly Foundation, which will roll out a program known as TK for Take Kare.
They will lobby for more CCTV cameras throughout the city and a Safe Zone Take Kare bus in Kings Cross offering support for young drunk people or people at risk of violence.
But it was Mrs Kelly who drove home the impact of violence such as this on an ordinary family.
You can watch the Kellys' speech above.
"We went in and emergency was on our left and we were quickly directed to our right. I thought that was quite strange," Mrs Kelly said.
"I don't think we really understood how grave the situation was until a doctor said it was going to take a miracle for Thomas to survive.
Tragedy ... Thomas's friends support each other at his funeral last year. Picture: News Corp Australia
Tragedy ... Thomas’s friends support each other at his funeral last year. Picture: News Corp Australia
"I said, 'What kind of miracle are you talking about?' Which didn't really make any sense."
Thomas was in the surgery the whole evening. They did not get to see Thomas for a long time as the swelling of his brain had caused severe intercranial pressure.
When they were finally allowed to see him the sight was one no parents wants to see.
"It was quite a shock. He was very cold. He had his head shaved. There was a very large bandage which said 'NO BONE' on the front of his skull.
"That's a very confronting thing to see when your 18-year-old son is lying there and you really just don't know what the outcome is going to be."
But even after the operations there was little hope. The Kellys were told Thomas's brain had sustained irreversible damage.
"By the time they arrived Ralph and I, and one of his sisters and our nephew had been taken into a room with the doctor who was looking after the ICU that day. And she said: 'I'm 100 per cent certain Thomas's brain has already died.'
"And I cannot begin to tell you what those words meant us.
"Our family started to arrive and we had to tell them. And everybody that came to the hospital was completely heartbroken.
"There was this beautiful young man, who was a shy, independent, young man who just started his life. He was just starting to see what life was there to offer him. And he was happy.
"You know, he had met a lovely girl at work. He'd met some amazing friends. And he'd also commenced at university and met lots of new friends there as well.
"So to me, we all look at our children and life begins as these beautiful little babies and we bring them home from the hospital and they're toddlers, and all the achievements they make in our lives.
"But to me a young person's life really begins when they finish school and they're a young adult and commencing out there in the world on its own. So all of that was taken away from Thomas.
"And it's been taken away from our family."
You can watch the Kellys' speech above. The Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation is working to set up a Take Kare Safe Zone in Sydney's Kings Cross party district.
A message from the Thomas Kelly Foundation:
"The effects and harm of alcohol fuelled violence inflicted on our friends, our families and communities are truly devastating. This demands a change. We all need to take more care, so that beautiful young people like Thomas (TK) are not never needlessly lost. We need to Take Kare now. Never Again.
Our Take Kare Zone will help those who've had a few too many, giving them a safe place to replenish, connect and get home safely. We'll have free water, food and phone connections to call your mates or mum."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national-news/thomas-kelly8217s-parents-kathy-and-ralph-kelly-deliver-powerful-speeches-about-son8217s-legacy/story-fncynjr2-1226724280834#ixzz2gTxN92Wb



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