Daughter's quest to make memories for her mum
MEMORIES are a precious commodity to Cheryl-Ann Rudd.
The Hervey Bay woman is rarely found without a camera in her hand and her family have been known to tell her to stop taking photos.
Now, as her mother fights a devastating battle with dementia, memories mean more than ever.
Ms Rudd knows her mum, Pamela Sweeney, does not have much time left to make new memories.
That is why she is determined to take her on one last trip and fulfil a dream.
Ms Sweeney had often recalled her own grandmother's wistful recounts of trips to Tasmania, Ms Rudd said.
"Her grandmother used to holiday in Tasmania and told her it's the most beautiful place. Mum's never been able to do any of that,” Ms Rudd said.
She wants to give her mum the chance to set sail on a cruise from Brisbane to Tasmania.
The trip would not simply be about personal leisure, she said - it would send a powerful message that dementia did not have to destroy a person's life.
"I want to be able to let mum know that even though she has dementia, she can do something,” Ms Rudd said.
"This is about creating memories. I want to give her dreams and a reality.”
She said her mum first started showing symptoms of dementia in 2015.
First Ms Sweeney fell over a number of times in the bathroom.
Then, the always respectable and polite Ms Sweeney's behaviour changed, and she became aggressive at times, shouting and swearing.
It broke Ms Rudd's heart to see what her beloved mum was going through, but she took the role of full-time carer in her stride, she said.
Even if her mum was not able to remember or fully appreciate the trip, it would give her descendants something to remember her by.
"It's all about the memories that she can pass on to her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. Nana wasn't always like this,” Ms Rudd said.
Speaking about her mum, Ms Rudd recalls a social butterfly who drove semi-trailers while raising five children.
She never had the chance to take a holiday and now, at 75, Ms Rudd wants to change that.
"This would be her first actual holiday, to go and see another place. I want to take her somewhere that she wants to go,” she said.
To help make the dream a reality, Ms Rudd has called on the community to help.
She is not asking for money, just a bit of pragmatic generosity.
Instead of donations of money, Ms Rudd is appealing for old bottles and tins that can be exchanged through the Containers for Change scheme.
"I don't want people to think I'm after their money but if you're going to throw it away, can you give it to us?” she said.
"I want to give my mum the best ending to her life.”
Ms Rudd has set an ambitious target of 100,000 recyclables. If you can help, phone her on 0476254604.