OTIS Foundation's Kez's Hideaway one step closer

ORIGINAL STORY: Bendigo community asked to help turn OTIS retreat dream into reality

WHEN Paul Gray's wife, Kerri, suggested he build a house for The OTIS Foundation, Mr Gray took her request to heart.

At the time Kerri was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and in 2011 she tragically died from the disease.

But Mr Gray kept his promise: approaching OTIS a few months after her passing with the offer to build Kez's Hideaway, a retreat for women with breast cancer and their families.

And now Kerri's wish is one step closer to being fulfilled. 

The OTIS Foundation was recently given a charitable donation of eight hectares of land in Redesdale and in a few months time Mr Gray and employees from his company - Paul Gray Builders - will start building a house there.

The foundation hosted a Mother's Day luncheon at the Bendigo Jockey Club's Silks Restaurant on Friday to raise money for decor and items that will  fill the house when completed.

OTIS general manager Loreena Bloomfield said the house would be a tranquil family retreat; a place breast cancer sufferers and their families could forget about their troubles and enjoy spending time together as a family.

Mr Gray said his wife would be very proud of his effort.

"We understood how important it was to get away from it all ... to forget about treatments," he said.

"Kerri was very family-oriented. 

"These retreats bring family and friends back together."

Jimmy Possum founder Margot Spalding was the emcee for the luncheon and speakers included Paul Gray and breast cancer survivor and You Can Fitness director Mel Traynor.

More than 100 people attended the event, with tickets costing $70 per person.

The OTIS Foundation has properties in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia that men and women with breast cancer can visit free of charge.

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