Heartfelt Homes is one of the Australian charities working for a cause we feel very strongly for. In 2013, founder Caroline Meehan and her family received the news no one wants to hear, her husband Andy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The Lennox Heads based family had to make the huge lifestyle shift to ensure Andy could receive the necessary treatment at Brisbane Royal and Women’s Hospital. This is when Caroline realised the lack of support available to the families of patients. No assistance is provided in finding temporary accommodation, and as health care is of the number one concern, often these living arrangements are neglected consideration until the last moment.
Heartfelt Homes supports people who are dealing with the absolute worst life can throw at you. Illness and cancer can strike unexpectedly, and it is for those times of need that Heartfelt is there. We have developed a breathtaking colour for this charity that supports you in life’s other breathtaking moments. Heartfelt Homes is a charity we truly believe in and we know you will too.
Sometimes the hardships experienced by family of those in hospital, isn’t realised until personally put in that situation. Providing love and support, deciphering medical news and putting your own life on hold, means that many neglect small things like getting a decent sleep at night. On top of that, accommodation close to hospitals can be expensive, added on top of car park fees, eating out and travel costs. Families can quickly spiral into financial hardship within a matter of weeks, when all they are doing is helping their loved ones make it through each day. This was the harsh reality that faced Caroline. She was only able to stay in Brisbane for a few nights before the expenses were just too high. To enable her to spend every day by her husband’s side, and keep her 2 young children’s routine, Caroline made the 6 hour return journey between Lennox and Brisbane every day. When caring for a love-one in hospital, this sort of travel can be detrimental to all parties.
Caroline knew there had to be an outlet available for families, to support them in difficult times and this is where Heartfelt Homes was born. “I quickly realised that I needed to turn it into a charity and raise money and you know, pay for rooms, so that’s how it started,” she said, “there were some [patients] who were just having to leave their loved ones as they couldn’t do the travel”. It is well known that the journey to wellness is made a lot easier with loved ones by your side, and so the idea of people not having this support in times of need did not sit well with her.
Heartfelt Homes is the first of its kind. There are similar Australian charities, such as Ronald McDonald house, but Heartfelt Homes differs in a number of ways. There is no criteria to be offered assistance by them, such as age, gender or illness. It also provides private rooms for families, which is of huge benefit for those who through sickness become immune deficient and unable to live in shared accommodation. They own no property and have very low operating costs, meaning all money raised goes directly back into offering families accommodation close to the hospital, for as many days as possible.
At this point in time, they are providing 40-70 rooms per month to families in need. Caroline receives phone calls from individuals directly, or through social workers who have families that require assistance. “Social workers send me a file,” Caroline said, “ I ring them, hear more about their needs… inevitably you get to learn quite a lot and sometimes I think how are you even conducting this conversation with me”. It is overwhelming to even consider the heartbreaking stories Caroline must hear daily. “In the first 18 months I really struggled,” she said, “I was privy to such personal information. Now I’ve gotten to the other side where I can say ok, we’ll get through this”.
Currently offered in several hospitals around the country, Caroline has ambitions for Heartfelt to become one of the Australian charities making an impact nation wide. “There’s no reason why, other than money, why it shouldn’t exist through all major hospitals to all Aussie families who need it” Caroline said.
To support heartfelt homes in helping families in need of supporting and a warm bed to sleep in at night, we have created a glitter bomb red nail lacquer. 100% of the proceeds of ‘Heartfelt Homes’ goes directly back into the charity. As the money raised goes directly back into housing the loved ones of those suffering, we will follow up with Caroline in the months ahead to see where the funds raised have gone. If you wish you can donate directly to Heartfelt Homes, or to find out other ways of being involved in this amazing charity. Shop our glitter bomb red.