This winter, make it your mission to help people in need, year round

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Dee* had a tough upbringing. Her mother left after experiencing repeated violence, and Dee had to care for her younger brothers and sisters.

“I looked after everyone, got them to school, cleaned the house, did the shopping, did everything,” Dee says.

“Dad would be at work all day long, then out drinking until the pub shut. Life was really difficult with mum gone, but back then you just got on with it.”

At 21, Dee was married and working, but with an undiagnosed mental illness, her marriage broke down and she lost custody of her two sons.

“I was absolutely devastated. I cried for weeks. I didn’t see my sons for eight years after that,” she says.

Dee described herself as lost. She was alone and needed help. But without support, Dee made a sudden decision to escape and hitchhike up the Bruce Highway.

“I didn’t know where I was going. I’m amazed I wasn’t attacked by wild cows or picked up by a maniac. I was very lonely,” she says.

“One bloke picked me up and pulled out this great big knife and said, ‘Be careful, there are maniacs around here’. Nothing frightened me… I didn’t care whether I was killed or not.”

Dee moved into Sacred Heart Mission’s Queens Road Rooming House the day it opened in 2005. This, she says, is when life really turned around for her.

“I found the staff really helpful, you could go to them with anything. They put me through two hospitality courses, and the art program at Queens Road was brilliant,” she says.

“I’m lucky…. without Queens Road and Sacred Heart Mission, I wouldn’t have got back in contact with my sons.

“The staff were so happy. They rang my room and said, ‘Dee, your son’s here’. I ran downstairs and we had this big hug, everyone was crying.

“Sacred Heart Mission were very good, they looked out for me. I am very grateful, I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t ended up there.”

Dee moved into her own place six months ago and is enjoying the simple things people might take for granted every day: doing the shopping; paying the bills; keeping her place clean; and staying in contact with her family.

“I don’t isolate myself anymore, I have good relationships with my family, I exercise, I’m eating well, I stay on my medication… I’m really enjoying life.”

At Sacred Heart Mission, we offer a range of programs and services that address the underlying causes of homelessness. A Sacred Heart Mission study found nine out of 10 people who have experienced homelessness have endured trauma during their childhood.

Dee is sharing her story to encourage people to dig deep for Sacred Heart Mission’s 2018 winter appeal, which aims to raise more than $200,000.

Our appeal this winter is about ensuring people can continue to receive the tailored support they need to overcome past trauma, rebuild their lives and thrive.

This winter, make it your mission to help people in need, year round. Please call or visit:

*Dee kindly agreed to share her story, but requested her name be changed to respect her privacy.

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