It was the telephone call that would give John Hunter a family.
Alone after the death of his mother and brother, the Perth 42-year-old made a nerve-racking phone call to the father he had been estranged from for most of his life.
The woman who answered the phone in Northam four years ago would not only calm his nerves but would become his mum.
"I'd always known where Dad was but I'd been scared to contact him," Mr Hunter said. "I called the number and she answered and she just made me feel reassured."
Anne Knapp said she immediately warmed to her estranged stepson, introduced him to his father and welcomed him into her family.
They now enjoy a unique relationship that was recognised yesterday when the mother of four was named Barnardos WA's Mother of the Year.
"It was very fortunate that I clicked, I was just about to put the phone down . . . now I don't have four children, I have five," Mrs Knapp said.
Mr Hunter said he had also become close to his half siblings and their children.
"I've never had anyone call me Uncle John before and that's what I've missed and now I've got that," he said. "It's surreal and it just feels nice. I've gained a great family."
Mrs Knapp will join the State finalists in the running for the Australian Mother of the Year Award to be announced in Sydney on May 9.