Donna White showing Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow how the Treasured Memories website works.
Donna White showing Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow how the Treasured Memories website works.

Online memorial website inspired by devastating loss of son

WHILE MOURNING the loss of her son, Donna White was inspired with a business idea.

As time helped her grief heal, six years later Ms White has officially seen that idea come to life.

Our Treasured Memories is an online business enabling family and friends to honour and celebrate the life of a lost loved one.

It is designed to allow family and friends to pay their respects from anywhere in the world where an internet connection exists.

“Our Treasured Memories is a web-based platform that offers free advice on writing eulogies, mechanisms to cope with grief and step-by-step guidance to help you prepare, as best you can, to farewell a loved one,” Ms White said.

“The website also offers professional and empathetic assistance with virtual memorial services, online memorial walls and developing everlasting video presentations.”

Ms White said Our Treasured Memories had been created as a legacy to her son who she lost in 2014 when he was 21.

“It has taken me many years to get to the point where I have overcome my grief and my mission is to assist people to travel that awful journey following the death of a loved one,” she said.

“If I can ease the burden for one person out there my job is done.

“This company has not been formed as a profit-driven company.”

Speaking at the website launch, Ms White cited figures of death from COVID-19 across the world which has reached more than one million, and commented about how many of those families were grieving in isolation.

Ms White said social distancing restrictions meant it had been difficult to console ailing loved ones during their final days or receive face-to-face support.

“They don’t have the opportunity to have family cuddle them, have a shoulder to cry on, have friends and neighbours come together as a collective group to help these people through this grief process,” she said.

“If we have the opportunity to do this electronically, virtually, to get that support around people that need it the most, that is how Our Treasured Memories has been designed to help.”

The business was launched out of Rockhampton Regional Council’s SmartHub with the help of staff and particularly the business manager, Elize Hattin.

“It was my intention always to offer video presentations or slide shows for funerals in the Rockhampton area as a retirement project,” she said.

“When I spoke to Elize about that she said you can go small and keep it local or you can go big.”

The web developer involved with the project, Bitplex, also had its foundations started at SmartHub.

Rockhampton region Mayor Margaret Strelow commended the idea that responds to the current challenges of saying goodbye to a loved one as a result of the pandemic.

“This is an example of using technology in a brilliant way,” Cr Strelow said.

“This is a need we didn’t even know we had …. that is available to people who are in a moment of grief, trying to put together an appropriate service for those they love.

“The process that has been put in, even down to assistance with closing social media accounts and guidelines and assistance for writing eulogies.

“I commend Donna for identifying a need for this kind of support during these times where we are not able to come together to like we used to.

“Donna has sympathetically tailored a business to lift a load off your shoulders through every aspect of planning a farewell.

“This is an extremely useful service that understands what people need, and helps to bring real comfort to people during one of the most difficult times of their life.”

The SmartHub is specifically geared at helping start-ups maximise their early stage business success by offering collaboration and learning opportunities, mentoring and affordable workspaces.

“It’s very encouraging to see the SmartHub continuing to support and help create the businesses of the future right here in the Rockhampton region,” Cr Strelow said.

Visit the Our Treasured Memories website here.

For more information contact the SmartHub on 4936 8444 or email smarthub@rrc.qld.gov.au

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