Our House is a place where many stories come to light and intertwine.
Our House is the purpose built accommodation for patients coming to Lismore for medical treatment. Since its opening it has accommodated more than 2500 guests from across the region - from Ballina to Glen Innes, from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads.
The story of Ray Hayes, a resident of Grafton, has been one of many Our House stories that encourage people to be proactive about their health. Ray’s story also highlights how much our community is connected.
The Northern Co-operative Meat Company Ltd (NCMC) is a local meat company with a long tradition in quality manufacture, marketing and distribution of the finest food products to the world. It’s also a very community minded company. Our House has just received the last of the $110,000 pledge that NCMC generously gave to help Our House when it was being built. This latest donation of $26,250 happened to arrive during Ray’s stay.
Ray told us that he couldn’t believe the generosity of the people in this area.
“I’m staying in the Casino Meat Works (NCMC) room, and knowing one of the Directors of the company I feel so proud. The Casino Meat Works gave $110,000 so that a lift could be installed for guests. Then when I learnt they also gave $25,000 in seed funding to this project I was just beside myself, particularly as I work with stock feed and know the farmers who are part of the Meat Works,” said Ray.
NCMC Chairman John Seccombe said meeting Ray and hearing his story was uplifting. “We have 1300 members like Ray based in rural communities and supporting Our House has been a great opportunity to give back to them,” said John.
Ray, who has been a guest at Our House for nine weeks, is an absolute salt of the earth person and has an attitude second to none. “I found out about Our House through the hospital. It just seemed so logical to stay at Our House for treatment instead of doing a four hour round trip each day,” Ray said. “I thought Our House was a motel, but it is so much more. The facility and all that happens here nearly blew me clear off the perch.”
Ray was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer through a routine B double licence medical test. The blood test showed an elevated PSA and it was confirmed that he needed treatment. “Radiation worried me the most, but now I understand the process and understand how it all works, and it is all good,” said Ray.
Staying at Our House has been one of the highlights during Ray’s period of treatment.