Break helps ease family’s struggle
Mum Erin Dalton’s struggle with terminal cancer has been helped by the gift of a family holiday made possible by a charity.
The Aucklander was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2018, just after her daughter was born.
‘‘The following years have been a rollercoaster of surgeries and fortnightly chemo.
It is hard to fit family trips in with regular chemo and the side effects,’’
But the family was given the chance to get away and cement some happy memories by the charity TimeOut.
TimeOut is a local not-forprofit charity, providing holiday home experiences to terminallyill patients and their families.
Every year, more than 24,000 people and their families experience terminal illness in New Zealand.
Beyond the immense grief and emotional toll these illnesses take on all they affect, they also impact our most precious resource; time.
By gifting experiences away from home, the charity provides families with much-needed moments of relief, shared experiences and the opportunity to take a break from it all, spending time together.
The charity relies on holiday home owners donating their property for a terminally ill person’s visit.
The charity has 140 holiday homes around the country on its books now.
But with more than 50,000 holiday homes in New Zealand, it is on a mission to get Kiwi donors on-board, so we can all lend a hand to those who need it.
Erin Dalton stayed in Northland in March with her husband and two young kids.
‘‘My family and I are so grateful for our recent stay.
‘‘We really wanted to take our two children to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and were lucky enough to stay in Opua.
‘‘TimeOut and a very generous home owner arranged for us to stay three nights and we had such a great time.
‘‘TimeOut made the whole process very easy and the owner was so lovely about us staying in their home.’’
Nihal Fernandez is one of the holiday home owners already signed up.
She recently donated her first stay in her Ohakune holiday home.
‘‘The idea in making a small contribution to families who are going through a life altering experience is what drew us to listing our home with TimeOut.
‘‘Experiences are remembered for a lifetime and this opportunity lets us be part of these families and their memories forever.’’
TimeOut began in 2013, when Ronda Amende was diagnosed with a rare cancer and given 12 months to live.
Amende was determined to fight her illness and began a three-year battle with chemotherapy, beating her cancer into remission.
With so much heartbreak and uncertainty during this trying time, a chance gesture from a work colleague provided muchneeded relief - some time away at a family holiday home.
Inspired by the gratitude she felt, Amende wanted other families in need to have this experience and the idea for TimeOut was born.
‘‘It can be really difficult to understand what would really help family and friends dealing with a terminal illness, you can’t take away the sickness or the hard time, but what you can do is help them to realise what they need to do and that is to spend quality time together and build memories, and TimeOut helps to facilitate this,’’ she says.