Barnardos Mother of the Year 2012 finalists honoured

State Labor Member for Narre Warren South Judith Graley and Shadow Minister for Disability Services, Danielle Green hosted a morning tea for Rachael Woolley and Katina DeStratis to congratulate them on being named as Victorian finalists in the 2012 Barnardos Mother of the Year awards.

Rachael Woolley and Katina DeStratis were both honoured for the extraordinary commitment they have shown to their children.

Rachael is a mother of five young children, her eight year old twins Jake and Cooper both suffer from severe non-verbal autism and her five year-old son Dylan, has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ms Graley said that Rachael’s positive attitude to life and belief that she should just get on with it has ensured her children and the local community have benefited enormously.

“Following the birth of Rachael’s twins she became involved with a local multiple birth association and provided support and advice to those in need of assistance.”

“She is now a staunch advocate for the rights of autistic children and is committed to improving the services currently available for autistic children in our local area.”

Katina is also a mother to five children and for the past six years has fostered children with disabilities.

Katina’s youngest son Robbie who had cerebral palsy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at the age of seventeen.

Katina was forced to give up her job and spend her life savings to care for Robbie, his twin brother Jessie and her foster children. 

Robbie sadly passed away in October 2011.

“Katina’s dedication to Robbie and her determination to continue to care for foster children with disabilities is truly remarkable, she is an inspiration,” Ms Graley said.

“It gave me great pleasure to meet with both of these extraordinary women,”

“They have both endured incredible hardships yet remain humble and willing to help others,”

“Their stories should inspire us all and as Mother’s day approaches I hope that everyone will take the time to recognise the significant contribution our Mothers have made to our lives.”