After almost five years, Bendigo builder Paul Gray’s tribute to late wife Kerri is ready.
She inspired him to create a retreat for people living with the challenges of breast cancer and their loved ones.
Next week, Kez’s Hideaway will accommodate its first guest.
Mr Gray has donated the project to The OTIS Foundation, a Bendigo-based charity which provides free retreats for people affected by breast cancer.
“We are honoured to have worked with Paul on this project and see what his vision was come to life – it means so much to him,” foundation spokeswoman Carlie Ryan said.
Bookings for Kez’s Hideaway are nearing capacity, with 29 families scheduled to stay between now and January.
Mr Gray told The Bendigo Advertiser earlier in the year, “I know Kez’d be proud.”
Built in Redesdale on 20 acres of land donated by the Campbell family, the retreat was designed with the family holidays Mr Gray, his wife and their two children had in mind.
It has ample communal areas, and space for the person living with the challenges of breast cancer to retreat into.
Community support has propelled the project.
Ms Ryan said the market value of the hideaway was more than $1 million – the foundation will be paying significantly less.
“The total cost to The OTIS Foundation will be somewhere in the range of $350,000,” she said.
Donors have contributed building materials, services, and contents.
”We’ve had people donate the value of a face washer up to Jimmy Possum donating much of the furniture,” Ms Ryan said.
“We value all of the contributions – it all adds up and has been really important.”
The first sod at Kez’s Hideaway was turned in late 2014.
Tonight, The Rifle Brigade Hotel in Bendigo will host an event in support of the OTIS Foundation.
More than 130 tickets were available for Rifle Loves Otis, but there’s not one left.
Ms Ryan encouraged those who had missed out on a ticket to donate the $50 they would have spent on going to the event to the foundation.
Rifle Brigade co-owner Narelle Perez said she and her team were grateful to be in a position to give back to the community by supporting one of Bendigo’s charity success stories.