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Facebook page leads to rural patients cared for in city

Biloela woman Justine Christerson was awarded a Queensland disaster hero medal for her work in helping people and communities recover from Qld's natural disasters. Picture supplied.
Biloela woman Justine Christerson was awarded a Queensland disaster hero medal for her work in helping people and communities recover from Qld's natural disasters. Picture supplied.

WHEN tragedy struck the small community of Biloela, all Justine Christerson wanted to do was help.

Three years, one Facebook page and more than 150 families later, the former Central Queensland woman has certainly achieved that goal.

Justine said she was motivated to do something when two car crashes rocked the country town in 2012.

She fundraised more than $10,000 for the victims, who were transferred to Brisbane hospitals, but that was just the beginning.

"I experienced emergency transfers several times myself and then my son was flown to Rocky with a snake bite," she said. "It was so unexpected... I didn't even have my purse on me. I thought 'wow what I want to do is exactly what I need right now'."

After moving to Brisbane, Justine started a Facebook page aimed at supporting rural patients in city hospitals. That page now has more than 2000 followers.

Through their generosity, Justine said she is able to provide families with food, hampers, vouchers, advice, information and most importantly a shoulder to lean on.

"These families are used to having their best friend around who can just pop in, but when they're away from home that's not possible," she said.

"To know I'm filling that void is incredible."

Justine said it could be really daunting for families who all of a sudden find themselves in an unfamiliar place.

"They feel displaced and isolated," she said. "Some people are too embarrassed to ask for help."

Justine said she was in the process of turning her page into a registered charity.

"I never imagined it would fall into place like it has," she said.

To help out or get in touch with Justine visit www.facebook.com/ruralpatientscityhospital.

Topics:  accident cancer facebook fundraiser



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