BIG4 Mildura Getaway Holiday Park

Meet Don!

I had the pleasure of meeting Don... 

Here is his story...

Meet Don!!

Don has been staying with us in a cabin whilst receiving dialysis three days a week from the Big Red Kidney Bus. I spent about an hour with him and got to know a bit more about his story, some of which I would like to pass on to you.

Three years ago, Don’s kidneys failed and he commenced lifesaving dialysis treatment.

During our time together, Don couldn’t stop talking about his greatest loves, the main one being his family. He and his loving wife, Joan, have a son, a daughter, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter, with another bundle of joy on the way. He and Joan will be celebrating their 60th anniversary next year!

Brought up as a bush kid, Don has always loved nature and also has a passion for travel. He spoke of all the holidays he and Joan have been on over the years, a lot of them with BIG4.  He mentioned that his work even took him to China for 15 months.

However, he is now only able to travel within Australia and, when he does, he is limited to locations with a hospital renal unit close by, so he can undergo dialysis, which he needs three times a week. Don had never used the Big Red Kidney Bus before, so this was a whole new experience for him, one he speaks of highly, from our park to the Big Red Kidney Bus nurses and of course, Mildura itself.

Though he had heard about the bus, he didn’t realise how great it was until he was able to use it himself for the first time. He commented on the fact that when you’re not receiving treatment, you’re right there on holidays and it’s really great to have so many new and different things to see and do and lots of places to visit. He also said it was nice to be able to see outside and not be stuck in a hospital room, although he wished there were more exciting things happening outside to watch. Maybe next year we will park it right next to the Jumping Pillow!

Don has actually been visiting Mildura for many years. Having lived in Adelaide for most of his married life, he and his wife used to travel here regularly for little getaways. He has a love of the river and the bush beside it and commented on how nice it is to sit by the river and look across at the other side, whether it be a view of the bush or of the town.

The day that I spoke with him, his granddaughter and great granddaughter had come to visit. You could tell he was itching to finish dialysis treatment on the bus so he could go and enjoy spending time with them!

Don is an inspiration. He will fight with all that he has and love with all that he is.

I can’t even begin to count how many people like Don that the Big Red Kidney Bus has helped and will continue to help in years to come. It is a way for people on dialysis to travel and spend time with their families, whilst still receiving the lifesaving treatment that they need to survive.

If you know of anyone undergoing haemodialysis treatment, who could benefit from a holiday away from home, please let them know about the Big Red Kidney Bus!

Cherie Barlow
Assistant Manager at BIG4 Mildura Getaway

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