Jeremy McKnight’s worst nightmare came true when he lost his daughter to leukemia in March this year.
But out of that tragedy, the Mount Glasgow resident has created something that is already helping not only his community, but the entire Goldfields region.
His goal is to help anyone with a terminal illness to fulfil their final wish – to die at home, a wish he was able to make come true for his daughter.
Working alongside Creswick doctor Claire Hepper, Mr McKnight has raised enough money to supply 60 remote medical practices with palliative care kits, named in honour of his daughter Shannon.
Already, 30 Shannon’s Packs have been distributed, with another 30 to go out shortly, thanks to contributions via a GoFundMe page and a recent dinner in Creswick that raised a huge $4000 for the cause.
Now, Mr McKnight has managed to gain the support needed to create his own charity – Shannon’s Bridge.
The not-for-profit organisation aims to help connect patients with existing palliative care services and supports. It also aims to help people with issues surrounding illness and dying, helping remove taboos and change attitudes.
“With the help from so many wonderful people and organisations, and researching more about the desperate need for more palliative care services in regional areas, we decided to take it a step further and start our own charity,” Mr McKnight said.
“Belinda (my wife) and I are still lost in a world that does not have our little girl in it anymore, but is nice to see how many wonderful people just want to help others without anything in return.”
Mr McKnight said “all sorts of people” had already put up their hand to help.
An information session for anyone who would like to volunteer or find out more about in-home palliative care will be held at Creswick’s Farmers Arms on October 18 at 6pm.
A Ballarat session will be held at the Morshead Park Stadium, Pleasant Street, on November 8 at 6pm.
For more information or to donate, visit gofundme.com/2825bdje