The lifeblood of our community | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Inspiring Stories, Lifehouse News, Volunteer Stories

Each day, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse patient car collects patients from across the inner west, brings them to their appointments at the hospital then drops them home again.

One of these people was Helen, who had glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain cancer.

Janice is a Chris O’Brien Lifehouse volunteer. She drives the patient car at least once a week.

Janice and Helen came to know each other through these trips. The two of them chatted, and Helen often spoke about her daughter, Sonja.

Sonja was living in Melbourne and grappling with her own cancer diagnosis. When she relocated back to Sydney, she was also treated at Lifehouse and subscribed to the patient transport service.

One day, Sonja was staying at Lifehouse as an inpatient when she received the news her mother was going to pass away imminently.

Helen’s treatment had moved into a palliative stage and she was at that time living in an aged care facility in Rockdale.

The ward made arrangements for Sonja to be discharged for the day so she could see her mother. Our volunteer manager, Lorainne Brecard, arranged for the patient car to make this special trip

In a moving example of the richness of the Lifehouse community, and its capacity to support patients in the physical sense but also at a more profound level, the driver that day was Janice. As they drove to Rockdale together, Sonja was able to talk with someone who knew her mother.

Janice helped Sonja out of the car and walked with her to Helen’s room. She waited outside as Sonja said goodbye to her mother, then brought her back to the care of the ward staff.

This is a Caring Community.


We are a community-based organisation.


“I call this my safety zone. My home. My safe place … The ladies in craft have been just beautiful. They’ve been my little soul mates.”
— Lois Byrne, patient

To read more stories like this, please visit our 2018-19 annual review.

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