Life’s not fair is it?
I’ve sat down with Melinda Carmody and her kids after the first part of their 96five SOS experience at Southbank.
Melinda has six kids – Jacinta, Nicholas (who has Down Syndrome), Miranda, Casie, Brianna and Eliana. This beautiful family is the ultimate picture of sticking together through life’s storms.
For years Melinda struggled in an abusive relationship, staying put because she was worried about the safety of her kids if she was to leave. When she was at her lowest and thoughts of self-harm entered her mind, she did what she needed to do to save herself and her kids.
“I got to the point where I was going to commit suicide. I knew I needed help so I saw a doctor and was referred on to the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service.”
The BDVS were able to put in place an exit strategy, and Melinda says that from the first moment she got in touch with them they were only ever concerned with her and the children’s safety.
“They got us out safely and really looked after the children with counselling for them all.”
But not long after the family’s escape from the cycle of family violence, they were dealt an even crueler blow. In July 2018 Melinda was diagnosed with Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer, which had spread to her liver.
This is a terminal diagnosis and the life expectancy for Melinda’s condition is currently standing at less than 24 months.
“Life’s not fair” says Mel as she wipes the tears from her eyes, and then a smile breaks out – “but you know what?”
“There are people who are worse off than us, and this whole experience has just brought us closer together.”
Putting the Kids First
Through her cancer journey Mel has battled the pain and sickness that comes with the treatment.
She hasn’t been able to work since her diagnosis, and raising six children on her own has been financially draining. But she’s fighting hard for her kids, and making sure their future is bright.
“Because my condition is terminal I was able to access my superannuation. I’ve been able to buy the kids a house, so they’ll always have a place to call home.”
The children have also created a bucket list of things to do in the next three to six months, and the family have been busy ticking as many things off as possible.
Their former nanny Renee Davis nominated Mel and the kids for a 96five SOS. Despite having to relocate to the Sunshine Coast for work, Renee is now part of the family.
Renee contacted us saying that “one of Mel’s lifelong dreams has been to take her kids to the snow”.
The SOS Experience
Well we couldn’t quite manage the Snowy Mountains, but thanks to our great friends at Rydges Southbank and Snow 4 Kids, the family was able to enjoy a real snow experience in the heart of Brisbane.
“It’s amazing to know that there’s so many people out there who care about us. It’s a hard and lonely struggle, so it’s nice to know that people care.”
After the snow experience the family enjoyed a luxury night at Rydges Southbank in one of their amazing suites. There was enough room for the whole family and Renee to spread out and relax, and enjoy time together.
Melinda and her family are in need of some further support – they are currently in need of a nanny/carer as Mel is often in hospital or run down from her treatment.
The other area in which help is needed is in finishing off their backyard. Mel’s budget hasn’t extended that far – so if you’re a landscaper or handy in the yard, and want to help out a worthy family get in touch with 96five.
Snow 4 Kids is conveniently located in the heart of Southbank Parklands. You’ll be able to indulge in the winter wonderland, and create long lasting memories with your family. For more info go to www.snow4kids.com.au
Want to stay where the action is? Rydges Southbank is smack bang in the middle of Brisbane’s entertainment precinct, and is world class accommodation for the business or leisure traveller. Check out their rooms and rates at https://www.rydges.com.
You can also follow Mel via her Facebook page – Mel’s Cancer Journey.