Kelvin Dangerfield, Tweed Palliative Support volunteer trainer Autumn Camidge and volunteer Bill O'Brien.
Kelvin Dangerfield, Tweed Palliative Support volunteer trainer Autumn Camidge and volunteer Bill O'Brien. Alina Rylko

Volunteers needed for end-of-life care

EXPERTS say that like birth, no-one knows the exact day somebody will die.

The days, weeks or even months are confronting and challenging for those facing the end of their life.

That’s why Bill O’Brien, of Banora Point, has been an in-home visitor and volunteer with Tweed Palliative Support.

He knows first-hand how important it is to have help, because the non-profit organisation looked after his wife through her end-of-life journey three years ago.

Mr O’Brien held back the tears as he praised TPS volunteers, who offer grief counselling, physical palliative work or just a comforting ear to those in need.

“I wanted to something like that in return,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Now I’m out every week, visiting people first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. I drive people to doctors or to chemo appointments.”

He is now helping to care for Kelvin Dangerfield, of Banora Point. A founding member of the Tweed District Orchid Society, Mr Dangerfield said when Mr O’Brien comes to visit it gives his wife Doreen an opportunity to go to the shops, for some respite.

“Bill and I have common interests, it’s great to have him here,” he said.

“I love seeing him come through the door.”

TPS volunteer trainer Autumne Camidge said some residents weren’t as fortunate as Mr Dangerfield and were widowed, making TPS volunteers even more critical. The Burringbar resident has been a volunteer since TPS’ incorporation 14 years ago, and facilitates volunteer training annually.

The group is seeking applicants to continue its compassionate work.

Training is free and includes expert speakers in 12 fields of palliative care.

“It’s great for anyone civic minded,” Ms Camidge said.

“You learn how to be a part of a team, and that’s what makes TPS so successful.”

Tweed Palliative Support reaches about 300 clients a year, of all ages, from babies to the elderly.

It also operates a multi-award winning, four-room hospice in Dulgiugan called the Wedgetail Retreat.



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