Skip to content

Bonds that rebuild lives

Written by Joanne Isaac, Senior Manager (Communications and Campaigns) with integratedliving

Chrissy’s story is one of incredible resilience and a testament to the way trust, friendship and genuine care can help us through the toughest times.

In 2017, Chrissy had a catastrophic fall from the second-storey balcony of her home while she was watering some plants. She broke almost every bone in her body. She was on life support for a month and later in an induced coma to allow for all the complicated surgeries that ensued. Her mouth and jaw were wired shut for three months and she endured six months of painful rehabilitation.

Two years ago, Chrissy had more surgery, this time for a shoulder implant, to help with the mobility of her arm. Another long recovery followed.

“So I’ve got pins and nuts and bolts everywhere,” Chrissy said. “The worst place was my face because that’s permanently numb, which is terrible. But I’m lucky to be here and still walking.” 

Chrissy has led an incredibly interesting life that has included three husbands and a multitude of adored dogs, or “fur babies”, as she prefers to call them, whose pictures take a prominent place in her home.

Growing up in Parramatta and spending time in New Zealand, Castle Hill and Perth, as well as her current home near Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, Chrissy was a woman ahead of her time.

“I had a wonderful career in computing,” Chrissy said. It was back in the days where computers were big mainframes, and I was learning programming. I had a team of ten people under me, and I loved leading, but I never bossed anyone around.”

Chrissy was also a representative athlete in her younger years, with basketball, athletics, swimming, softball and running just some of the sports she loved. 
“In school I was captain of the school athletics team, so I played softball, did swimming and running. I was an all-round athlete. And I loved tennis, but basketball was by far my favourite. When I was in Perth, I started netball and then ended up representing Perth,” Chrissy said. Her love of sport continues, especially basketball and American football which she watches whenever she can.

Chrissy was also an incredible entertainer, hosting tea parties, dinners and pool parties.

“I loved being able to use my nice stuff and cooking for people,” Chrissy said. “When I was in Castle Hill, I made a group of friends with fellow walkers and their dogs, it was like a woman’s get together. We used to get together with our fur babies and have barbeques.” 

The accident and all that followed took an enormous toll on Chrissy’s physical and mental health with long bouts of severe anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress and withdrawal and isolation. At the same time, Chrissy’s beloved Mum Joan, who Chrissy lived with, could not be left on her own due to her dementia.  

It was at this time that Chrissy became a client of integratedliving. “I honestly don’t know what I would have done without integratedliving,” Chrissy said. “Everyone who has helped me has been very special.” 

Chrissy’s Case Manager, Donna, believes that a turning point for Chrissy was when she met Support Worker, Katrina. “I think Katrina helped Chrissy see that she could trust people,” Donna said. “She has given Chrissy the courage to keep going and helps her over the line when there is something difficult Chrissy has to do.

She gets Chrissy out into the community and provides friendship. I can always count on Katrina’s support and help, it’s invaluable to me." 

When asked about the difference Katrina has made in her life Chrissy is effusive.  

“Well without sounding too dramatic, she saved my life,” Chrissy said. “She came in when I needed someone and just filled the void for me. She’s been wonderful to me, and she’s brought me out of my shell. 

“I was really isolated, and I couldn’t face people and I was very self-conscious of all my injuries, so I wasn’t coping well,” Chrissy said. “I just love her to bits. She’s been a joy to have as a friend. We laugh a lot and enjoy each other’s company. I just love having her around here with me and we do a lot of yakking, she’s very special.” 

Visiting Chrissy and Katrina is like encountering life-long friends. They share a beautiful rapport, laugh often, enjoy witty repartee, and clearly trust and admire each other greatly.  

“Working with Chrissy brings me so much,” Katrina said. “I enjoy our deep and meaningful conversations and coffee and cake outings, but mostly I enjoy knowing how appreciative and kind she is to me. I enjoy seeing her smile when I arrive and the look on her face when I leave knowing I have impacted her day in a positive way, not only in personal care or domestic assistance, but companionship. Her happiness makes me happy. 

“I help her not to be afraid so she can enjoy life and our outings such as swimming or a simple coffee at a café,” Katrina said. “Chrissy feels safe with me and knowing her good days and bad days has helped as we can just play things by ear at our regular services, no pressure. We also built trust when I told her that I had seven fur babies – that definitely sparked a flame in her and the conversations began.” 


Hear more from Katrina on our Live Well Podcast, visit or scan the code.



Find out more about our services