When Emmanuel Kelly was a little boy growing up in Iraq, he and his brother were found by nuns inside a shoebox as the war raged on around them. The brothers were both born with severely underdeveloped limbs due to the chemical warfare in their community.
Without the proper care they so desperately needed, the nuns brought Emmanuel and his brother Ahmed to an orphanage.
In 1998, Emmanuel and Ahmed were discovered by renowned Australian humanitarian Moira Therese Kelly at the Mother Teresa Orphanage in Baghdad. Moira originally brought Emmanuel and Ahmed back to her home in Australia to provide them with medical care, but she fell in love with them in the process. Moira became not only their hero, but also their adoptive mother. The brothers’ newfound sense of love and support allowed them to flourish into adulthood.
Ahmed, a quadruple amputee and swimmer, represented Australia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Emmanuel was also born with a special gift. He’s an amazing singer, and his family encouraged him to audition for The X Factor in 2011, at the age of 17.
Brave and determined, watch Emmanuel perform his emotional rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon. His story moves the judges, and the entire audience, to absolute tears.
It’s amazing how an iconic song like “Imagine” can take on a whole new meaning based on who sings it and why. What a courageous young man and wonderful family.
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AHMED, Emmanuel’s 19-year-old brother, is a quadruple amputee and a swimmer who has taken on Paralympic swimming by breaking a world record and has set his sights on a gold medal in the 2012 Paralympics in London.