It’s been a great-news fortnight for Heartfelt Homes, I’m pleased to report. Can you believe, our website has been shortlisted for Kochie’s Business Builders’ Rescue My Site competition, in the Local Legend category? I can’t believe it myself, but now I’m counting on Heartfelt Homes’ amazing and loyal supporters to help us win $25,000 worth of marketing support. So, in the comments section below – or on our Facebook page –please tell me, in a sentence or two, why Heartfelt Homes is a local legend! Just think what we could do with that support, and how many Aussie families we could help!
Money’s always an issue here at Heartfelt Homes, as it is with families all across Australia. Our good-news week was almost the exact opposite, when I got a phone call from a dad whose son, Daniel, had been badly hurt in a hit-and-run accident while visiting friends in Tweed, and had been admitted to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Dad Dale was at home in Newcastle – 700km away from the hospital – when he got the call about Daniel. He got a lift with Dale’s brother, and together they drove the long distance to the hospital. After spending the entire day and night at his son’s bedside, he was asked to leave the hospital, and told he couldn’t return until 10am the next day.
Dale had not given his own situation a thought, consumed with worry about his son he hadn’t even considered where he might spend the night or how he would pay for it. He quickly realised that he didn’t have a clue where he was, what was nearby or where he should head so he made the decision to sleep on the concrete in the car park at the hospital. He felt this was safer than roaming the streets.
Dale suffers from a bone condition and receives a disability support pension; he has very limited accessible funds. He barely slept a wink that night, then he had to face the next long day at his son’s bedside. Seeing Dale’s despair, a social worker from the hospital contacted me to ask if I could help. I had to say the unthinkable: “No.”
To say no was unbelievably difficult, but at this point Heartfelt Homes simply didn’t have the funds to find Dale accommodation. Also, as it was the weekend of the G20 summit, accommodation was at a premium and most places were fully booked.
Devastated, I turned to social media for help, and fortunately my loyal and amazing supporters donated money to help Dale and Daniel. Within an hour of learning of Dale’s situation, I’d found him a safe, comfortable motel room near to the hospital and a tramline. I negotiated $105 per night and paid for four nights accommodation; this is reviewed each day as I catch up with Dale to see what’s happening next.
Dale’s son Daniel received serious injuries to his whole body and especially his head – tragically, he’s lost sight in his left eye as a result of the accident, which could affect his work as a painter and decorator.
“It’s so hard to process news like this when you’re on your own,” Dale told me, finding being separated from his wife and family a huge hardship through such a difficult time. “Everyone is desperate to see Daniel and I need some support dealing with this. I just feel so far away and on my own.”
Dale continues to sit in the hospital all day with his son, hoping they can operate soon so he can then be transferred to John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, and be back around family and friends.
“I would like to thank Heartfelt Homes from the bottom of my heart for caring for me and providing a room for me to rest,” Dale said. “People don’t realise how hard it is for families of patients travelling from miles away. Until it happens to you, you don’t realise the how much it means to have a safe, comfortable place to sleep at night that is organised for you, it’s just one less worry to take on when your whole world is upside down.
“I would encourage everyone to support Heartfelt Homes in whatever way you can, they are amazing and you never know when you might need their services. I really don’t know how I would have got through this time without them, I would certainly have had more nights on the concrete in the car park.”
While I’m delighted that we were able to help Dale, I hate the fact that he was initially turned away. I wish I didn’t need to beg for money when someone comes to me for help. I would urge everyone to please consider setting up a regular donation to Heartfelt Homes, so the money’s there when we need it. Just $10 a month would make a life-changing difference.
Finally, one business that’s made a huge difference to Heartfelt Homes is a brand new coffee shop called Griffith Street Larder in Coolangatta, the latest venture by Nick Pearce and Marc Kinvig of Blackboard. With the help of Marc and Nick, Stone & Wood Brewers and The Strand Coolangatta, all the proceeds of Griffith Street Larder’s opening were donated to Heartfelt Homes. I’m so totally humbled by this, and thank everyone involved! Caroline x