In the blink of an eye, life as we knew it changed

To whom it may concern

In the blink of an eye, life as we knew it changed. My husband Max was diagnosed with an extremely rare auto immune disease and was told his chances of survival were slim and that to have any chance at all, he would need to have an Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant.

My family and I had already spent the majority of the previous year travelling back and forth to Dunedin, while my husband was quite critical in Dunedin hospital. We went from one Bed and Breakfast to another as accommodation was scarce and at times very hard to find. This only added to the extreme stress that we were already going through.

Then in January 2020, Max and I had to leave our family behind in Invercargill and travel to Christchurch so that he could have his Stem Cell Transplant. There we were blessed with having our accommodation already pre-arranged for us; at Rānui House.

Rānui House became our home over the eight months we spent in Christchurch. It was everything we needed and more. Not only did it provide us with the security of having a stable place to stay, but with it being so close to the hospital, I could be with Max as much as possible, especially with every moment being so precious.

At times Max was well enough to stay with me at Rānui House. This brought some normality back into our lives, enjoying simple things like cooking, playing boards games or simply watching a movie and just being together. We also got to meet and share experiences with other residents that were going through the same things that we were. Being able to share his journey and listen to others helped give Max the strength and determination to persevere through the hard times and stay positive.

It was during our time at Rānui House that COVID hit and added another layer of risk to all of the vulnerable patients who were immunocompromised. The extremely dedicated and caring staff at Rānui House took every precaution during this time to ensure all residents were safe. They even did all of our grocery shopping for us so that we didn’t have that added risk of exposure.

The staff at Rānui House became my friends and my support, a shoulder to cry on. Without them I don’t know how I would have got through the most challenging time of my life and for that I thank you.

There were times when our family were able to come to Christchurch and visit. I am so grateful that they were able to stay with me at Rānui House. It made life so much easier, having them there with me, especially when Max was critical.

Sadly, due to GVHD my husband became terminal and at 54 years of age he passed away. He never got to go back home to Invercargill, but I know that during our eight months stay in Christchurch, he felt very much at home, at Rānui House.

I really don’t know how we would have managed to get through those extremely tough eight months if we didn’t have somewhere like Rānui House to stay. I know that I will never be able to express in words just how incredibly blessed we were to have it.

To all of you, who have been a part of making Rānui House possible: The Board of Trustees, the staff, the people who provide the funding, the people who provide afternoon tea and meals; your dedication and generosity is overwhelming. I am, and always will be eternally grateful. Thank you.

Much love. Tina Tuliau