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Cathy's story - finding hope amongst devastating drought

22 February 2019

Your urgent donation will help the Salvos provide groceries, everyday essentials and start a life-saving conversation with a farming family enduring hardship.

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Before Cathy moved to Braidwood (NSW) in 2001, the closest she’d come to farming was owning a dog. Then she was given a poddy calf, fell in love and married and before long she and her husband Brett had a 100-hectare farm with around 50 Poll Herefords for breeding. Life was good.

When the neck pain she’d suffered for several years turned out to come from a very large brain tumour, Cathy was raced to hospital. Surgical complications, 12 months’ recuperation and then the discovery of more, smaller tumours all occurred with the backdrop of the unyielding drought that is devastating many of our farmers today.

Things went from worse to worst. As the price of hay doubled, the price Cathy could get for a calf halved. With her husband was working as a mechanic to keep the family afloat, Cathy was at home dealing with the farm, bills and her health challenges.

Cathy estimates that the drought and her surgeries have cost the couple $150,000. As she says, “It’s a long way to go backwards.”

In desperation, Cathy rang the Sydney show of radio personality Alan Jones. Fortuitously, Andrew Hill, The Salvation Army General Manager of Community Fundraising, heard the broadcast in his car. He pulled over, called the station for Cathy’s details and immediately organised help, not just for Cathy, but for her local community through our rural chaplains.

As well as offering a much needed listening ear, the chaplains distributed grants for emergency aid and debit cards so people could buy necessities locally.

Practical support brings breathing space

 “Just being able to talk to the rural chaplains probably helps more than the money,” Cathy says. “To know that people know you’re doing it hard, that it’s not going to go any further, and they’re not judging you.”

Many farmers are isolated and depressed, and, according to our rural chaplains, the more depressed people get, the less likely they are to reach out for help. Cathy tells of a friend who some years earlier, “was here one day, and shot himself the next”.  Suicide rates are rising in rural Australia and the trauma lives on in their communities.

The service our rural chaplains provide is literally keeping people alive. And that’s why you are so important now. Your practical help shows a farmer and their family that they’re not alone. It starts a conversation. The kettle goes on. The kitchen chairs are pulled out and the healing begins.

So please, join us today and be a friend to our farmers. Your donation will help us reach isolated farming families at risk, so we can provide not only household essentials, but assistance to keep them going – in Cathy’s case, help in easing the burden of her mounting bills.

Donate now to help our farmers

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