Hamish Braddick in the kitchen of the dwelling he makes available to those with limited time to live.
When Hamish Braddick was building a house on his land in Puhoi, he decided to also construct a “minor dwelling” that he could let through Airbnb and generate a useful second income.
But Hamish also had the idea that he could donate time in the north-facing, one-bedroom property, that overlooks his farm, to benefit the terminally ill and their families.
That thought was inspired by Ronda Amende – a colleague Hamish works with at Zeald, a New Zealand IT company.
Back in 2013, Ronda was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given 12 months to live.
During the dark days that followed, she was encouraged by a friend, who offered her the use of a bach near Lake Taupo for Ronda to have a break and spend some quality time with her family.
As it has turned out, Ronda has so far succeeded in defying the prediction she would soon die and continues to live.
Nevertheless, the enjoyment she got from the Lake Taupo experience prompted her to found the charity TimeOut – where people can donate time in their bachs and spare accommodation to allow other terminally ill people to enjoy the same kind of experience.
Hamish joined the board of TimeOut at its founding in 2017 – motivated partly by Ronda and partly by the experience of his mother, who was diagnosed and eventually succumbed to motor neuron disease.
“I guess the whole terminal illness thing was important to me, and TimeOut seemed like a good idea,” he says.
Hamish says a lot of his understanding of the value of TimeOut comes from Ronda, who spoke about the chance to get away the house – from the smell of drugs and illness – and to have a refreshing time with her family, having some laughs and creating wonderful memories together.
Hamish donated his own property to the cause for the first time in November. It was taken up by a woman with terminal cancer who wanted to spend a few quiet days with her husband.
“They sent us a really nice message afterwards. I’ve been helping grow and develop TimeOut for a few years, but this is the first time I’ve actually been part of the process and that’s really good, too,” he says.
TimeOut development manager Kylie Hale, who is based in Whangaparaoa, says the charity is especially keen to source more properties in Mahurangi because it is such a beautiful spot and is close to Auckland where many potential beneficiaries are based. It has enlisted the support of Meyer Real Estate to help find them.
Kylie says all kinds of accommodation is sought from one-bedroom upwards. Property owners specify how many stays per year they are prepared to donate and when those stays take place. It is not essential that they have wheelchair access as many patients remain fully mobile.
She says around 20,000 people a year are diagnosed with a terminal illness in New Zealand. So far,
TimeOut has five properties available in the Rodney area, but could easily make use of dozens more.
Kylie adds that it’s highly unlikely a patient would die during their stay, as they often have more than six months to live and are still confident and fit enough to travel.