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A Ray of Sunshine

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When Tama’s wife, Nancy, suffered a stroke in 2012, he retired from his security guard job to care for her.

At first, his daughter helped, but she passed away in 2014. Eventually, Tama needed support and Nancy moved into Catholic Healthcare’s Villa Maria Centre, Fortitude Valley in Queensland.

“She enjoys being there,” says Tama, who visits daily. “She can use her right hand and can communicate, but I’m her left hand.”

Tama, a self-taught musician, quickly became a much loved and respected presence at the Home, volunteering to entertain and support the residents and staff.

Everyone enjoys the regular concerts and birthday parties at which he sings old favourites. The best part is when the residents sing along, he says.

Tama enjoys playing his keyboard and singing hymns at Mass in the onsite chapel and performs at the annual Christmas singalong. He also hosts bingo games and karaoke events and fires up the barbie to cook a meal for the residents.

“Tama has spent well over a thousand hours entertaining us and supporting our residents and staff,” says Diversional Therapist, Wendy. “No job is too big or too small, and he is always there to lend a hand.  He’s a ray of sunshine in our world, and everyone loves having him around.”

Last year, Tama won a prestigious Volunteer Gold Dove award for his dedication.  “I didn’t expect anything like that. I was so delighted,” he says. “I love working with the team. Everyone here is so kind. I pretty much spend my days at Villa Maria.”

In the evenings, he goes home to help his son-in-law care for his late daughter’s three young children.

“I’m back the next day. I wake in the morning and look forward to helping out,” he says.

Tama (left) is pictured receiving his Award from Catholic Healthcare Board Chairman, David Robinson.

Register your interest in becoming a volunteer by calling Catholic Healthcare on 02 8876 2100