WEEK 10 – THE 52 WEEK LOVE PROJECT
Welcome to Week 10 of The 52 Week Love Project. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
The project will showcase LOVE at it’s finest, share their stories – what they do and why they do it! It’s an opportunity for us to find out what inspires them and what keeps them going when challenges or self-doubt assail them.
MEET: Jenny – Full-Time Carer and Humble Human!
Her Motto : ‘Don’t worry about things that may happen because if they ever happen that’s the time to worry about them”
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
‘After my Mum passed, I was looking in the local Glen Iris Leader newspaper and there was an advert for a Personal Carer for a handsome gentleman located in Glen Iris, Victoria. (It didn’t say handsome in the advert, however, I now know the gentleman – and can say with conviction that he is handsome) 🙂
I had reservations about applying for the job as this was not something I would generally respond too. I had cared for my Mum for several months but this was a role that I had not done before. It took me four weeks before I plucked up the courage and made the call to find out more about the role.
I had an interview scheduled with Darryn (the handsome gentleman that the personal care was for) and his lovely mum – Val. After the meeting, I was offered some training shifts and it all began from there!
I continued to work a full-time role and mainly worked with Darryn on weekends. Which involved sleepover shifts.
Ten years later and working mostly on weekends – I had formed a strong bond and friendship with both Val and Darryn. Val had dedicated her life to Darryn since the time he was involved in a drink driving accident that he was a passenger – this happened in 1993. Over lunch with Val, she asked if I would ‘step in’ and look after Darryn should anything happen to her. My response was yes!
Val passed away a week before her 80th birthday and I resigned from my full-time job the day after to fulfil my promise. I moved in shortly after to be Darryn’s Head Carer.’
WHAT DO YOU DO?
As the head carer, I ensure that everything is running smoothly to ensure that Darryn get’s the care he needs. Some of the things I do:
- Coordinate carer’s and ensure that there is sufficient care
- Fill in when a carer is running late
- Ensure that all he has all his supplies and medicine
- Liaise with specialists with / and on behalf of the family
- Live in so always on hand to help out
- On hand, if there is anything that happens during the night e.g. he has had seizures and needs assistance / take him to hospital
- The eyes and ears for the family so to speak
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
‘It’s rewarding. Darryn and Val had become such a big part of my life’ I get so much from Darryn and caring for him’
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
‘I never expected to replace Val – I just wanted to give back to her as she was so giving. She created laughter so my doubt was pushed aside’
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
‘To love what they do, if they don’t get any rewards out of it. Don’t do it if you don’t care for people. Don’t do it because its something you fell into – you have to care for the person. They say that you have to remain detached when you are a carer and not to get involved on a personal level – but I don’t know how you do that.’
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
Don’t worry about things that may happen because if they ever happen that’s the time to worry about them
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
‘People with disabilities still want to be around people that are able body. Don’t be afraid to talk and engage with them! There are people that just stare when we are on outings. Maybe instead – ask a question or simply smile – it will make a difference to the carers and those that are disabled.
Sometimes disabled people don’t see themselves as we see them – they also need people to be around and engage.’
JENNY AND DARRYN
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THIS STORY
This is a story very dear to my heart. I knew Darryn before the accident and have seen and been part of the life-changing impact that a drink driving accident can have on family and friends. Val’s life was forever changed on that day that Darryn was a passenger in car with a drunk driver. Val gave the rest of her life caring and ensuring that Darryn was treated with the dignity he deserves. Now, Jenny, fulfiling a commitment, so humbly and selfishly makes it possible for Darryn to remain at home.
Jenny didn’t want to share her story as she doesn’t see the difference she makes. Thank you, Jenny for your commitment, kindness and humbleness – you are an inspirational angel! It is people like you that make a difference in our world.
The 52 Week Love Project can be delivered to your inbox each week – just click to get your weekly email!