Warm welcome for Beach House families

We are celebrating our Laklinyeri Beach House’s second birthday with a perfectly suited new addition to the WCH Foundation team.

Cheryl and Rob Minniss lost their eldest son, Mason, to an incurable genetic metabolic condition called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) in 2011. Mason’s diagnosis came when he was six years old and he passed away aged 10 years and 10 months.

Just after losing his big brother, Cheryl and Rob’s youngest son, Rohan, said, “We are now a family of four, just in three bodies.” This inspired the name for the family’s fund created in Mason’s honour, ‘4 in 3’ the Mason Minniss Fund. Money raised through this fund has supported the Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Palliative Care Service for many years.

Cheryl, Rob, Rohan and Mason Minniss.

Cheryl, Rob, Rohan and Mason Minniss.

Beach House founding family

The Minnis family were also one of our Laklinyeri Beach House’s founding families, giving insights to help to shape the Beach House into the beautiful and functional space it is today.

The Beach House in Victor Harbor is a place for families with children who have complex care needs or are in palliative care, as well as bereaved families, to have a relaxing experience where they can rest, connect and create memories together.

When the Beach House first opened, Cheryl said, “There will be many memorable moments shared within these Beach House walls: smiles, laughter and tears, and many treasured photos taken. This special Beach House will become part of the journey of many families for years to come.”

The Beach House founding families visiting the completed Beach House for the first time in 2019, including Cheryl Minniss (top, far left).

The Beach House founding families visiting the completed Beach House for the first time in 2019, including Cheryl Minniss (top, far left).

New role for Cheryl

Now, two years since its doors first opened, Cheryl herself is going to be a part of these families’ journeys, taking on the role of WCH Foundation Beach House Support Officer. The Mount Compass local will be on the ground in Victor Harbor making sure everything runs smoothly to ensure our families have the best time possible.

Cheryl said her family’s experience with caring for Mason has given her an understanding of how challenging planning a holiday can be for some families.

“Being from a family who’s had a loss, we had the experience where we were able to go to a home and have a holiday, and those memories are just very priceless,” she said.

“You can’t imagine it, just a holiday for some people with such complex care patients, they are hard to get away with sometimes, so having somewhere like this just makes it easier.

“I know what the families are feeling when they’ve booked their stay – the excitement that they have just to get out of their own house and to go into an area where they have everything set up and safe and they know that everything is done for them to make the holiday as comfortable as possible.

“To be able to be a part of that, to see them pull up and know that they’ve actually got a week that they are going to enjoy, they’re not going to stress, they’ve got everything they need and they’re safe, it’s very special.”

Cheryl Minniss standing in front of Beach House sign at the Beach House.

Welcome to the team, Cheryl.

A comforting welcome to the Beach House

Cheryl hopes that she can provide some comfort to our Beach House families on their arrival, having been in a similar situation to many of them.

“I can give them some guidance, not medically or anything like that, but I can just say that you’re going to be okay, you’re going to have fun, just take it for what it is.”

“Just having that background I think has helped me in that I can pass on a little bit of joy to them. I know how hard it is and what they’re going through just to get the child to the Beach House. I understand all of that and I think I’m empathetic with that.”

It was evident from the huge ear-to-ear smile on Cheryl’s face after her induction at the Beach House that she is just as excited to start as we are to have her join us.

“I walked away with the biggest swell on my heart,” Cheryl said, “I was just in the right spot.”

The WCH Foundation Laklinyeri Beach House.

The WCH Foundation Laklinyeri Beach House.

For more information about our Laklinyeri Beach House, click here. To help support family stays at the Beach House, click here.

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