KRISTY Thomson has returned to her mother's Goornong home six months after a tree fell in Rosalind Park, leaving her unable to walk and tragically taking the life of her little girl Patiya May.
Sitting in the sun on a new deck in her backyard on Saturday, Kristy laughed and smiled as she spoke of how touched she was by those who have reached out to her during such a personal and emotional time.
"I've had a tragedy happen, but I'm very blessed at the same time,'' she said.
Kristy came home to a renovated house and landscaped garden thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the central Victorian community.
DURING the past six months, there were days Kristy Thomson just wanted to go home, and others when that day was too hard to think about.
But on Saturday, there was no nowhere else Kristy would have preferred to be.
Sitting in the sun laughing and smiling with family and friends, Kristy was happy to finally be home.
Kristy returned to her mother's Goornong house on June 30, six months to the day after a tree fell in Rosalind Park - leaving her unable to walk, and tragically taking the life of her beautiful four-year-old daughter, Patiya May.
She has spent the past six months in Melbourne hospitals undergoing surgery and rehabilitation - but could not return to her mother's home until it could accommodate her needs.
Thanks to a group of central Victorian businesses and individuals, that could happen.
Kristy's close friend Crystal Berry coordinated an indoor and outdoor makeover at the property, and brought everyone together on Saturday to celebrate Kristy's homecoming and thank them for their efforts.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo served afternoon tea to those who gathered for the special day.
"I believe each and every one of you should be recognised for all the hard work you did,'' Crystal said.
"It's been a long road to get to where we are now but we couldn't have done it without each and every one of you.''
Justin Finch from YardArt Landscaping was among those to give countless hours of his own time.
Justin and wife Rachel only recently started their small landscaping business, but didn't think twice about helping out.
Justin spent at least six weekends at the property, making over the front and year yards - but did not want recognition.
Holding his son in his arms, he said "I think of this little fella and how it would feel if it had been me ... it's the least I could have done,'' he said.
It was a sentiment shared by each of those who offered goods or services.
Melanie and Justin Clark of Reanne Curtains did not hesitate to help.
"We have children of our own and felt it was such a great loss,'' Melanie said.
Ash Thorp of Thorp Tiling said "you really don't think people are interested in helping out until you see something like this.''
"I've had a tragedy happen but I'm very blessed at the same time,'' she said.
"I'm quite shocked and surprised about how much everyone has done, it's amazing ... it's awesome, I love it.
"Everyone has just come out of the woodwork and gone 'we'll do this, we'll do that' ... it was a big surprise, I did not expect it at all.
"I can't explain it, there's no words. I'm very lucky.
"And mum deserves the world, she did not leave my side since the day it happened.
"She gave up her job, gave up everything and just sat with me every day for six months.''
Kristy said while there was still a long road ahead, it was good to be home.
"It is hard work every day, little things every day - you don't realise until it happens to you, you don't realise what people have to do,'' she said.
"But everyone is great, and it's good to be home.
"What can I say? Thank you is what you say but it doesn't feel like enough.
"I'll just show my gratefulness through working hard and not giving up.''
Those who provided goods or services included: Wright Family Homes, Reuben Beazley Builders, GJ Gardner Homes, Bendigo Gold Football Club, Archie Lenten and team from Country Care, Justin and Rachel Finch at YardArt Landscaping, Reece Plumbing and Peter Ritchie, Phil Murphy from Total Painting, Phil Birchmore Painting, Rob and Sonia Varner at Stylewood Interiors, Shane Meade from National Tiles, Bendigo Wood Stoves, Melanie and Justin Clark at Reanne Curtains, R and K Trees, Chris Garlick from Arboricultural Consultants Australia, Grays Bendigo, Rodilesa and Macdonalds nurseries, All Stone Quarries, Dulux Paint, Bendigo Timber, Home Hardware, Fujitsu and National Heating and Cooling, Tint Central, Thorp Tiling, Steve Vandenberg - building consultant The Austin Hospital, Epsom Sand and Soil, Rotary Club Bendigo, Premium Shower Screens and Wardrobes, Plastamasta Bendigo, Liam Carvile (plasterer), Ray Watt Electrical Bendigo and Coolabah Turf Echuca.