Longtime holiday home donor forÂ the terminally ill Doug Hanna tookÂ some timeout to chat with us aboutÂ his home donation experiences.
Doug, how did you first become a houseÂ donor?
[Doug] A friendâ€™s wife was diagnosedÂ with terminal cancer. He wanted toÂ take her on one last trip around NZÂ before she became too ill and asked ifÂ he could stay at our beach house. WeÂ were of course fully supportive and theyÂ stayed a few days and loved their timeÂ in peace at the beach. After she passedÂ our friend told us how much it hadÂ meant to them and that got meÂ thinking. I approached the local cancerÂ Society who also introduced me to theÂ local hospice. Through their counsellors, we have been hosted over 50 familiesÂ since we began doing this in 2004.
What has surprised you mostÂ during your time as a donor?
[Doug] When I firstÂ approached the local CancerÂ Society branch I assumedÂ that lots of people donatedÂ their holiday houses for thisÂ purpose. I was told that I wasÂ the first, which reallyÂ surprised me. Itâ€™s the reasonÂ that I loved seeing TimeOutÂ emerge and fully support itÂ as I know a lot of familiesÂ would also like to do this.
You have been donating your houses forÂ quite a few years now, what is it that hasÂ kept you donating for so long?
[Doug] We have received some lovelyÂ cards and letters from our recipientÂ families telling us about how much itÂ meant to them. We love hearingÂ about the positive impact that whatÂ we do has. We feel privileged to be inÂ a position of owning a property inÂ such a lovely spot and this is our wayÂ of sharing some of our good fortune.
Tell us your most memorableÂ experience that you have had as aÂ house donor!
[Doug] Because we live 3 hours awayÂ from our holiday house we have notÂ met any of our guest families. TheÂ most memorable moment wasÂ receiving a letter in the mail that wasÂ written by a woman who found writingÂ very physically difficult due to herÂ illness so she had dictated it to herÂ daughter to write for her. She told usÂ how she wanted to write to thank usÂ but could only dictate the letter. SheÂ described her stay with her family andÂ said how special it was for her. ThatÂ was years ago and left a realÂ impression on us.
What is your advice to people who mayÂ be considering donating their houses?
[Doug] It is a lovely thing to do and isÂ really appreciated. It truly makes aÂ difference to the life of a family whoâ€™veÂ the misfortune to be suffering from aÂ terminal illness. Its only with the offerÂ of support from families with holidayÂ homes that these families canÂ experience some very special time outÂ together away from the reality ofÂ everyday life. Youâ€™ll feel really goodÂ about what you are doing by donatingÂ your house.