Fae was turning the corner after several years fighting cancer.
Work had always been an integral part of her life, but her health had forced her into retirement, and she was feeling at a loss.
Enter the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was in a dark place,” she said.
“Yes, I’d been there before, but there seemed to be no way out this time.
“We all felt the impact of the lockdowns, but for me, as for many, a compromised immune system made me feel like a prisoner.”
Being shut away at home really started to take its toll on Fae.
“I realised that being alone with my thoughts could be dangerous for my mental health,” she said.
“Normally, my happy place is to be running, bustling and busy, the busier the better.”
Heading into the second year of the pandemic, Fae knew she had to do something.
“I considered volunteering and wondered if I had the strength to get out and do it. Finally, I managed to contact Uniting in Grovedale.
“I’ll always remember walking in that first day and doing a group orientation. I was asked to introduce myself and talk briefly about my work history.
I said I was Fae, and then I felt the tears begin. I was overwhelmed but luckily in the good hands of [Uniting staff] Kerry and Theone.”
Before long, Fae was making use of her skills volunteering as an Emergency Relief interviewer.
After a few weeks she began volunteering in Grovedale’s Education program.
“Honestly, I could literally feel the darkness begin to lift, it was an amazing gift,” she said.
“This is such a valuable program and I had much to learn, but with the support I was given, it all came together.
“Uniting is an amazing place.
“Our clients are ever grateful for our help. Each program within Uniting provides a unique service, whether it be emergency aid, help with school supplies, or giving families in need a joyful Christmas.
“I’m truly grateful I wandered into that little black building in Grovedale all that time ago.
“It may sound over the top, but it honestly saved me. It gave me back me. It’s enabled me to make a difference again, something I had lost.”