Hospice dream left to die

A DREAM by caring volunteers to establish a hospice in the Tweed for people suffering from cancer has been dashed by the refusal of both state and federal governments to come to the aid of an existing respite centre

The Bright Side of Life, set up through the volunteer efforts of registered nurse Gillian May amid lush, rainforested gardens north of Murwillumbah, has closed after Ms May herself became terminally ill.

After 10 months waiting for government responses, then finally being told governments were not interested, Ms May has placed the homestead up for sale for $1.69 million.

"We have been absolutely devastated," said Tweed Palliative Support president Meredith Dennis.

"It wasn't only our disappointment, but the complete contempt with which they treated our proposal.

"They didn't even bother after numerous telephone calls and correspondence, to even get back to us."

Ms Dennis said the Bright Side of Life, which had been run for five years as a "quality of life retreat" by Ms May, was "a most beautiful purpose-built building" which was "ready to go" as a hospice.

"To set up the same thing again would cost a fortune," she added.

"Now that Gill is very sick the building has had to go on the open market and it will be sold. Somebody will take it as a bed-and-breakfast and we will never be able to get it again."

Ms Dennis said the only hope for Tweed Palliative Support, which has been trying to set up a hospice in the Tweed Shire for years, was that a wealthy individual might buy the property and lease it back to the group at an affordable rate.

"Our hospitals are bulging," said Ms Dennis.

"People are taking up valuable hospital beds in the last days of their lives."

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