When a loved one receives a terminal diagnosis, it is clearly a tragic time for all involved, but with local community services activated during the palliative journey, the painful journey can be translated to one that is as peaceful as possible.
Maria Daly (pictured above left), who lived in Melbourne, was known to those around her as a special lady renowned for her fierce independence and zeal for socialising with friends, as well as her much cherished family, including daughter Alicia Demiri, son Shannon and grandchildren Elira, Liron & Zahra — who adored their Nonna’s generosity and cuddles immensely.
It was absolutely devastating, then, when Daly learned that she had cancer, metastatic and terminal.
For a woman who lived her life to the fullest, travelling extensively throughout Europe, America and the Asia-Pacific region, coming to terms with her prognosis, and the side effects of the treatment process, was difficult.
“When mum had her spinal surgery to remove cancer eight years ago, she was instantly unable to drive and lost all independence which was really tough for her,” Alicia Demiri says.
Moving to a new home in Doreen, Daly enlisted the help of LINK Community & Transport (LINK) to aid her in her last years of life.
“LINK was a massive support for my mum over many years before she passed,” Demiri says.
“Without the lovely volunteers from LINK taking her to ongoing weekly medical appointments, and frequent grocery shopping outings, it would have been near impossible for her to get to all her treatments, and to stay positive.”
Naomi Darmanin, LINK customer relations and outings officer, has fond memories of Daly, and is proud of the work done by not-for-profits such as LINK in helping clients maintain vital connections with community, no matter their health barriers.
“I had the pleasure of talking to Maria — she was instantly so warm and a very lovely lady to talk to… I miss her,” Darmanin says.
“Maria told me on multiple occasions how the LINK community, our staff and volunteers were her lifesaver.
“Without us, she said, she wouldn’t have been able to go shopping or attend her medical and hospital appointments, or visit her family, who were her greatest joy.
Sadly, Daly recently passed away, after a minor fall which led to a hospital visit, where she contracted a blood infection that her immunocompromised system simply could not weather.
Despite her ongoing health struggles, her quick demise was unexpected, with the brave fighter’s recent regular scans and cancer treatments suggesting she was going OK.
But Daly’s memory will live on and be used to improve services for other older or ill persons in the local community.
Demiri, who works as a marketing executive at Combe’s Melbourne office, was hugely grateful to LINK for their help and care over the years, and so nominated them for her company’s once-a-year giving program.
To her delight, LINK was selected as recipient of a cheque for US$2500.
Dr Danny Davis, LINK Community & Transport managing director, tells Aged Care News that the funds will be used to improve provisions afforded LINK clients.
“The generous donation will be used to increase the client amenities — biscuits, fruit, tea and coffee — for the LINK transit lounge in Thomastown,” he says.
“The transit lounge sees dozens of clients come through on ClubLINK outings almost every day, as well as being a meeting and staging place for LINK’s volunteer community and staff.”
Daly’s passing has left a hole in the hearts of all who knew her, but Demiri says that having dedicated, accessibility aged and community care services made all the difference in her family’s challenging journey.
“It’s local support networks and charities like LINK that often make the biggest difference and are of the biggest value to a person’s life when they are diagnosed with an illness,” Demiri says.
“I am very grateful LINK were there to support Mum and hope they are able to continue reach more people just like her from this donation.”