TPS president Meredith Dennis and vice president Bill Brodie at Wedgetail Retreat.
TPS president Meredith Dennis and vice president Bill Brodie at Wedgetail Retreat. Nadine Fisher

On the wings of an eagle

CANCER is an emotional disease. Most people have been affected by it themselves or through the loss of a friend or relative.

And that’s why Tweed Palliative Support (TPS) has wanted to provide a hospice in the area – a place where palliative patients can go to live out their final days.

It has taken 11 years, but Wedgetail Retreat is finally open.

Tweed Palliative Support purchased a seven-acre property for $1.1 million in the Tweed Valley in May after an anonymous community member loaned them $1 million. It is the first hospice for the Tweed Shire.

The property was formerly owned by Gillian Cooper, who built the residence as a retreat for adults diagnosed and undergoing the treatment of cancer called The Bright Side of Life.

“Without the offer of a loan we would not have been able to purchase the property,” said TPS president Meredith Dennis.

“We had $100,000 but we never would have secured a loan through a bank.

“And we’re so thrilled to have the place. Now our goal is to get it running as a fully functional hospice, because hospitals are not a place for the dying.

“Hospitals are for people who are sick, and there is a difference between being sick and dying.

“We are also aiming to have $100,000 paid off the loan by the end of December, and ultimately we would like to have the loan paid out in full within five years.”

Ms Dennis said the next step was to put together a management committee to oversee the running of the Wedgetail Retreat property.

“We want to provide a place that is peaceful while still having medical care on hand to support the patients.

“We’ve already had interest from local registered nurses to provide medical care for the hospice patients,” she said.

“There are four rooms with ensuites and a huge dining and lounge area as well as verandas that overlook the lovely gardens and surrounds.”

Ms Dennis said TPS would continue to provide home-based palliative services while working toward having full-time patients at the hospice, where they will be given the full-care package.

TPS raises funds through raffles, membership and their Murwillumbah op shops, which are located opposite Murwillumbah Hospital and in Queen Street.

“We’re also fortunate to have had the support of local clubs that has enabled us to purchase much-needed equipment that we loan free-of-charge to palliative patients,” Ms Dennis said.

“We can always use volunteers in the group and we’ll be looking for people to help maintain the grounds of the retreat as well.”

Ms Dennis, who has been a member of TPS for 11 years and was formerly a nurse, said she initially joined TPS because she wanted to do something worthwhile.

TPS held an opening at Wedgetail Retreat recently to allow the community to visit the property before patients move in.

“Now we need the continued support of the community to enable us to run the hospice,” Ms Dennis said.

“It’s just another way for us to support people at the end of their lives.”

Contact details

Tweed Palliative Support

(02) 667 284 59



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