My husband Brendan was diagnosed with Leukaemia on a Thursday….
He was only 3 days from being 40, our little ones were 7 and 3.
We had had a busy few months with both of us working full time, Brendan as a shift worker in our Central Queensland hometown and I had been travelling a lot over the previous months.
In the blink of an eye and that fateful phone call from our GP, he was admitted to hospital and flown by Royal Flying Doctors to Brisbane – a 9 hour drive from home.
He spent 56 nights in a high dependency unit receiving 2 rounds of chemotherapy and more than 70 blood and platelet transfusions. We were all then grateful that Brendan was able to receive and survive a Christmas Eve bone marrow transplant.
Our family were displaced for 7 months, we were separated from our children for 10 weeks whilst I cared for Brendan and tried to keep the rest of our life from falling apart.
The extreme generosity and kindness of our family and friends helped keep everything together for us.
While caring for Brendan, how did you get the help you needed?
I asked my close friends and family and whilst they did every single thing they could to help me, it wasn’t always convenient or easy for them to do so and even harder for them to say no.
What was the emotional impact of coordinating the help that you needed?
I felt particularly vulnerable, I felt like a burden and I felt a bit like I was asking too much.
How would Gather My Crew have helped you had it existed?
I could have put so much stuff on there! Immediate things like moving the lawn (we live on 2.5acres!), caring for the dog and helping with our kids who stayed with Brendan’s sister for the first 10 weeks.
As time went on, other things came up that we could have asked for help with. Things like selling Brendan’s motorbike and our caravan and getting all of our stuff back to Rocky (7 months of stuff plus people had sent us presents on a daily basis for the kids).
How would Gather My Crew have changed the way that you asked for, received and coordinated help?
GMC would have meant that I didn’t have to ask the same people for help every time and would have given more people an opportunity to provide help in a meaningful way – particularly those people not in our immediate family or close friends, but who were still deeply affected by Brendan’s illness and would have loved to help.