HEATHER Round's generosity towards families who have endured similar hardships to hers has earned the mother of six a top award.
The 35-year-old from Goolwa has been named Barnardos Australia's Mother of the Year.
Heather and her husband Tim's children are aged from two to eight. The happy couple were dealt a devastating blow in 2002 when they lost one of their twin sons, Max, aged just 13 days to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – a condition where the left side of the heart does not form properly.
Their situation worsened from stress and financial pressure but they rose above the calamity, seeking other families touched by HLHS and congenital heart diseases. They took out mortgages on their home and set up an accommodation and support network opposite Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.
Heather often catches the bus from Adelaide to Melbourne to clean and stock the units and catches up with the families.
She also spends countless hours supporting parents of children with congenital heart defects and involves her family in fundraising and awareness days.
All of her children occupy a very special place in her life.
"They are all so different yet all so beautiful in their own ways and I also have one very special little angel who will always be in my heart," Heather said.
Her mum Judith Parkinson, who nominated Heather for the award, said her daughter means so much to her kids and those of other parents.
"Heather is not only an exceptional mum to her six surviving children but a wonderful, practical `godmother' to many other children and their families." Heather received the award last night at a ceremony hosted by the children's charity and welfare agency Barnardos Australia in Sydney.
The other state and territory finalists included Sandie O'Connor from the ACT, Jennifer Ney - NSW, Kacey Leach - QLD, Meagan Macdonald, VIC, Judy-Ann Vienna-Hallam - TAS, Sandra Vinciguerra - WA and Joan Halvorson from the Northern Territory.
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