Commitment earns Donna mother of the year title
Like most mums, Donna Hessing is a woman of enormous strength, providing unconditional love and sacrificing her own needs and wants to care for her children.
Over the past few years, the Wellard mother of four children has put her career on hold to provide her grandchildren with a safe and loving home.
Ms Hessing is a full-time foster carer of her three grandchildren - aged two, four, and eight years old.
With two grandchildren already in her care by 2017, Ms Hessing said she did not think twice about also taking on her then nine-week-old granddaughter.
"I picked her up from the hospital in March, 2017 - it was my 54th birthday so she was my special birthday present," she said.
"She was 10 weeks premature, she was tiny. So when I got the call it just wasn't a question really.
"I didn't want her to be separate from her brother and sister and to grow up in different houses. They really needed to stay together." Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer in October, recovering from a recent mastectomy and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Donna's grandchildren remain her No.1 priority. She was this month named Western Australia's mother of the year.
The 56-year-old was nominated by her daughter Leah Hobach, who said her mum was the strongest person she knew.
"When I had my first son I was a single mum and so she let us live with her and basically helped me raise him," she said.
"Even with everything that's going on at the moment she still gets up every morning and takes care of her grandchildren and is so supportive." Donna is now vying for national mother of the year, to be announced in Sydney on May 9.
It was my 54th birthday so (my granddaughter) was my special birthday present.
(This story first appeared in the Sound Telegraph, Rockingham).