Thomas Kelly Foundation launches Stay Kind Day in memory of Stuart Kelly

Stuart Kelly's speech for Thomas

The younger brother of "one-punch" victim Thomas Kelly delivers an emotional speech at the Take Kare gala describing the moment his family learned Tom was on life-support.

A new initiative to encourage compassion and support young people dealing with mental health issues has been launched in memory of teenager Stuart Kelly.

Stuart was found dead on Sydney's northern beaches in July 2016, four years after his brother, Thomas Kelly, was senselessly killed in a one-punch attack in Sydney's Kings Cross.

On Tuesday, the Stay Kind Day initiative was launched by the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, with the support of the National Rugby League, to encourage "all our youth and the general community to care for one another".

Stuart Kelly was found dead on Sydney's northern beaches in July 2016, four years after his brother, Thomas, was ...
Stuart Kelly was found dead on Sydney's northern beaches in July 2016, four years after his brother, Thomas, was senselessly killed in a one-punch attack in Sydney. Photo: Brendan Esposito

It will be held on July 23. 

"As a caring compassionate community, we need to show empathy as well as acknowledge and recognise that many people suffer silently," the Thomas Kelly Foundation said.

"Many of our youth find themselves overwhelmed by life, by others and unable to speak out. Our youth may not seek help for themselves when these events take place or when they are dealing with mental health issues."

Stay Kind Day, which takes its names from Stuart's initials is also backed by Parramatta Eels and West Tigers NRL clubs and Channel 9.

"Stuart was the Parramatta Eels number one fan whilst I've always wholeheartedly backed the Tigers, " said Ralph Kelly, father of Stuart and Thomas. "We appreciate the opportunity offered by the NRL and our clubs in remembering and recognising the essence of what Stuart always stood for, Staying Kind."

Chief executive of Lifeline Australia, Peter Shmigel said the Stay Kind initiative is an example of "the incredible strength and resilience that can come from profound heartache".

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"Through the work of the organisations like The Thomas Kelly Foundation and the NRL, this community day will send a strong message to young people that you don't have to struggle with life's challenges alone – help is available. It's about encouraging people to look out for each other, to talk openly about suicide and to reach out to friends, family and services like Lifeline's 13 11 14 crisis line."

NRL chief Todd Greenberg said there was a "clear synergy" between the Stay Kind initiative and the NRL's objective in delivering "community outcomes that make a positive difference".

"The rugby league family, like the broader community, has been affected by suicide and Stay Kind provides a platform for focusing on key NRL and community values," Mr Greenberg said. 

Thomas Kelly, left, with his father Ralph and brother Stuart.
Thomas Kelly, left, with his father Ralph and brother Stuart.  Photo: Supplied

The Thomas Kelly Foundation was established after Thomas' death in July 2012. The 18-year-old was walking with his girlfriend along Victoria Street on July 7, 2012, when a heavily intoxicated stranger – Kieran Loveridge – punched him on the head.

Thomas suffered a traumatic brain injury and died in St Vincent's Hospital two days later.

The foundation already funds the Take Kare initiative where a group of volunteers offer assistance to young people who find themselves in strife on a night out in the city every Friday and Saturday night. 

Stuart Kelly receives a standing ovation at the Take Kare gala dinner.
Stuart Kelly receives a standing ovation at the Take Kare gala dinner. Photo: James Brickwood

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