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Catherine's story

Thankfully, when Catherine needed it most, she found much-needed hope and support through the St Vincent de Paul Society

Through no fault of her own, Catherine has faced challenge after challenge in her life. As a single mother who escaped domestic violence, Catherine has raised three daughters on her own, and in recent years family illness and financial hardship have left Catherine struggling to get by. Thankfully, when Catherine needed it most, she found much-needed hope and support through the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Home Visitation program.

Five years ago Catherine’s middle child Lisa, now 20 years old, was diagnosed with cancer. Not long afterwards, a sudden back injury left Catherine unable to work. Quickly the medical bills started piling up and the emotional stress became too much.

"I found myself financially drowning. Having a child battling cancer, dealing with my own health problems and then having the financial stress on top of that-the enormity of it was overwhelming. It's heart wrenching as a parent to watch your child go through illness. I would actually get sick with worry. I had many sleepless nights."

When a neighbour suggested Catherine give the St Vincent de Paul Society a call, it was the first step towards emotional and financial relief.

The Home Visitation program is one of the St Vincent de Paul Society's oldest services. Not only does it provide practical and financial assistance, it provides companionship and emotional support to families and individuals facing extreme hardship.

"The home visits from Margaret meant the world to me. She was always so compassionate and warming and it was amazing just knowing that someone was there to listen. She gave me food vouchers for the local shops, which got me through that month, and Vinnies even helped me enrol my youngest daughter into a good high school."

While Catherine's middle daughter, Lisa, is now in remission from cancer, ongoing health complications continue to put financial and emotional stress on the family. But knowing that support and compassion are just a phone call away gives Catherine peace of mind.

"Vinnies has set me on a path to positivity. Even though I've been hit with tragedy after tragedy, knowing that there are genuine people out there that are willing to help is a weight off my shoulders. Vinnies has given me a more positive outlook on life. They've been my saving grace."

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