Thousands of Victorians and Tasmanians have found themselves at risk as a result of COVID-19. This Christmas, your generous donation will bring hope to those who need it most.
We’ve all felt the pressure of the pandemic. But for our community’s most vulnerable, the struggle has been more serious.
For people like Sonia, it’s not just about lockdown – it’s about life and death. Give hope a future this Christmas.
Diagnosed with diabetes at the tender age of 16, Sonia has spent her life in and out of doctors’ rooms, adjusting to life with a chronic illness.
Though she managed her condition well, Sonia’s health took a turn for the worse in her early fifties. To her shock and dismay, she was forced to start dialysis in 2018.
The gruelling cycle of treatment was devastating. Spending 3 days a week anchored to the hospital, Sonia grieved for her old way of life. She missed spending time with her husband, Reg, and was unable to continue as primary carer for her daughter, Emily.
She worried life would never be the same again. But, after 5 months of dialysis, in December Sonia was given a Christmas gift to remember: a healthy kidney.
“I got the call to say a kidney was available,” says Sonia. “I flew from Hobart to Melbourne that night and underwent a (kidney) transplant the next day. It all happened very quickly, but I’m so grateful it did.”
Uniting was there for Sonia throughout the transplant process, accompanying her and her family on their journey to recovery. We made sure they had food in the fridge, presents at Christmas, and financial relief when the bills piled up.
With renewed confidence, and a new kidney, Sonia finally felt free to embrace her fresh start and plan for the future.
Little did she know, her dreams were about to be derailed – again.
When the pandemic reached Australia, Sonia was scared.
“I was petrified because I knew if I got (COVID-19), I wouldn’t survive,” she says. “I don’t have an immune system to fight it off.”
Everything she had fought for was at stake: her health, her freedom and her future.
After years of working for a fresh start, Sonia felt trapped. She couldn’t meet with others, she couldn’t go outside – she couldn’t even care for her daughter the way she used to.
Frightened for her life and scared for her family, Sonia’s stress levels began to soar.
As COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, Sonia and her family began to leave their home only for essential appointments.
When they braved the outside world, the family wore full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – attracting attention and abuse.
“It was painful and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” – Sonia.
“It was horrible. People thought I was being over-the-top by wearing a mask and gloves,” says Sonia.
“But I had no other choice. I needed to protect myself.” Sonia did everything she could to keep herself safe. But there was no escaping the pandemic’s impact on her family. Between balancing the bills, managing Emily’s care, and monitoring the ever-looming threat of infection, Sonia had never been so stressed.
She knew she needed help. Now, more than ever before.
Now, Sonia feels safe and secure, knowing Uniting is there for her when times get tough.
“I try not to rely on them too often, but Uniting have always been there when we’ve needed it,” Sonia recalls. “They’ve helped pay our electricity and phone bill, given us fresh food or food vouchers, and even vouchers to buy Christmas presents for Emily.”
Thanks to the support of Uniting, Sonia always has a safety net for uncertain times.
Whether it’s a listening ear, or financial relief, Sonia is free to focus on the important things in life – knowing we’re with her, every step of the way.
“Uniting has helped our family in so many ways – we’re really grateful.”
You can bring new hope to a family like Sonia’s this Christmas. Together, we work alongside people in crisis. Will you make a donation today and support vulnerable people into stability?