News

The Compassion Tree aims to bring kindness and compassion back to Echuca-Moama

By Charmayne Allison

WHEN you’re battling an illness, any time with loved ones is a precious gift.

After surviving stage three aggressive breast cancer, Moama’s Sharnee McCoy knows that better than most.

Which is why she's launched The Compassion Tree, a program aiming to bring personalised, compassionate care to locals enduring life-changing events.

"I was diagnosed in 2017 as a single mother of five girls," Sharnee recalled.

"My only sister lived in Canberra and would come over when she could on a Friday to cook, clean and organise the girls, then she'd leave on the Monday.

"It was great but it made me think – what if that was our only time together?"

While Sharnee said friends, workmates and community members offered to help, they often struggled to know what to do.

"I also had cleaners come to my home a few times but found there was a lack of compassion and empathy and I felt uncomfortable having them in my home at such a vulnerable time," she said.

"I met a lot of people while I was going through chemo and radiation and often worriedthat some of them were alone and had no-one to help.

"I thought surely there must be a better way to care for people so they felt like more than just a person on a list.

"And so their loved ones could be comforted knowing these services were being provided when they weren't there."

And so The Compassion Tree was born.

The service begins with a vital one-on-one consultation with clients to get a clear understanding of their needs.

This is followed by regular contact to ensure clients' needs continue to be met and to keep up to date on any changes.

Services include cleaning, gardening, handyman services, meals, grocery shopping, transport, flowers and pet care.

And can be accessed by anyone going through cancer or medical treatment, unexpected life events, new babies or long-term conditions.

"I just want to put some kindness and compassion back into the world," Sharnee said.

"It’s not just about cleaning – maybe people just want someone to go for a coffee with. Maybe they just want fresh sheets on their bed after taking a shower. Little things like that.

"It's about recognising what's going on and taking the time to put the kettle on and have a chat with someone – because you could be the only person they see that week outside of appointments.

"There's lots of research out there that if people feeling cared for and listened to, it can really help with healing."

For more information about The Compassion Tree, call Sharnee on 0407 609 576 or visit compassiontree.com.au