A LACK of volunteers will see the end of the Muswellbrook Carelink Inc after almost three decades in the Upper Hunter.
The local organisation is expected to wrap up its cancer and palliative care service on December 30, a situation which saddens long-time member Marie Wild.
“It’s going to be missed in the community,” she said.
“We’ve serviced Muswellbrook, Denman, Gungal, Merriwa, Cassilis, Aberdeen, Ellerston, Scone and Murrurundi.
“Our drivers have also transported patients free of charge to Sydney and Newcastle for appointments.
“And, all of them made a difference in other people’s lives.
“But, we just can’t go on.
“Over the years, we’ve tried to recruit new volunteers to no avail.
“The majority of those, who we have now, can be counted on one hand – and two are vision-impaired.”
Mrs Wild said the lion’s share of the helpers had been there from day one – February 22, 1988.
“A 39-year-old Muswellbrook resident battling melanoma, Brian Thiess, ignited the Upper Hunter community into action,” she explained.
“He convened a meeting to discuss the formation of a support group for terminally-ill people and their families.
“It was the vision of this one man, who himself was nearing the end of his life, that could see families such as his needed assistance.
“He helped establish Term-Care, later to be known as Muswellbrook Carelink Inc.
“Brian lived long enough to witness his dream fulfilled – and his widow Lorelle continued to work closely with us for many years following.
“At our peak period, we boasted about 35-40 people.
“Unfortunately, on December 30, it will be two months short of 30 years working voluntarily for our community.
“We’ve saved the hospital thousands of dollars by keeping patients in their own homes, delivering equipment free of charge, which included portable beds, air mattresses, bedside tables, twin motor chairs, oxygen concentrators, sheepskins, shower stools and chairs, commodes, wheelchairs, walkers and much more.
“All of this was purchased with money donated by the community – and we’re appreciative of the great generosity.
“We’ll need to sell off the gear now.
“And, we’ll donate the proceeds back to worthy organisations.”
Mrs Wild thanked the following: Muswellbrook District Hospital, Muswellbrook Chronicle/Hunter Valley News, Catholic Church CUSA Room, Muswellbrook and District Workers Club, Muswellbrook RSL Club, Zone 11 Bowls Club, Nashos, Len Kelman, the many drivers, numerous guest speakers, local business houses and the mining community.