November 11, 2014. It was the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive:
“Is that Dale James? I’m sorry, but your son has been badly injured in an accident. He has been admitted to the Gold Coast University Hospital.”
Dale’s son Daniel had been the victim of a hit and run while visiting friends on the coast.
It wasn’t the first bad news that Dale had received. On a disability pension because of a genetic bone condition, he considered himself fortunate to belong to a loving family. His children were his pride and joy. Like most other parents, Dale put family first. Fearing the worst, he left their home in Newcastle, his only thought being to comfort and support his son.
When that first day of bedside vigil ended, Dale was asked to leave the hospital, informed that visiting hours would resume at 10.00am the next day.
Consumed with worry about his son, Dale had given little thought to plans or money. In an unknown place, Dale quickly realised that he had nowhere to spend the night. He made the decision to sleep on the concrete in the car park at the hospital, a safer option, he felt, than roaming the streets.
Learning of Dale’s situation the next day, a hospital social worker contacted Heartfelt Homes and Dale was soon housed in a safe, comfortable motel close to the tram line which runs past the hospital.
Daniel had received serious injuries to his whole body and especially his head. His treatment is ongoing and he may lose his left eye, but with one less worry, Dale is now better able to support his son.
“It is so hard to process news like this when you’re on your own,” Dale commented, finding the separation from his wife and family a huge hardship during such a difficult time. “Everyone at home is desperate to see Daniel, and I need some support dealing with this. I just feel so far away and on my own.
“I would like to thank Heartfelt Homes from the bottom of my heart for caring for me and providing a room for me to rest. People don’t realise how hard it is for families of patients travelling from miles away. Until it happens to you, you don’t realise how much it means to have a safe comfortable place to sleep at night. It’s just one less worry to take on when your whole world is upside down.”
“I would encourage everyone to support Heartfelt Homes in whatever way you can. They are amazing and you never know when you might need their services. I really don’t know how I would have got through this time without them. I would certainly have had more nights on the concrete in the car park.”
It is hoped that Daniel will soon be transferred to the John Hunter Hospital closer to home to enjoy extended family support.
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Hearfelt Homes relies on the generosity of donors. To make a donation visit heartfelthomes.org.au/.