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I want to share my personal story with you to explain the amazing impact of the Cuddle Bed for me and my wife Janine, and why I believe this style of care is so important.

Janine was my best friend, my soul mate, and the mother of our children. She lived for family, she was selfless and had a magic blend of passion and compassion.

Over 45 years together we shared such a deep loving connection and pride in our family and the life we had built.

Janine was diagnosed with cancer (melanoma) in 2017 and spent much of last year in hospital as her condition worsened.

Janine did all she could in her power with the support of a very capable medical team to beat the cancer without ever complaining, but sadly passed away in September.

Chris and Janine in Cuddle Bed at St John of God Murdoch Hosptial

The care Janine received through St John of God was outstanding, but against our strongest hopes, it became clear that she was very ill and our time together was limited.

We were really lucky to be offered some time in the hospital's only Cuddle Bed, which meant we could lay together during some of the time that Janine was receiving care. This was incredibly special and made a huge difference for us both.

Whenever Janine and I lay in the Cuddle Bed together, her spirit visibly lifted. The effects of physical touch and intimate comfort were undeniable. 

I later discovered there are only a small number of Cuddle Beds in use across Australia, and we were lucky to spend time in the only one in Western Australia. 

My hope is that more people can access this incredible style of care as it had a huge impact for both me and Janine in a very difficult time.

Sleeping next to Janine in the Cuddle Bed in hospital brought a feeling of greater comfort to us both. It played a positive part in maintaining a deep connection in those challenging times.

I want to thank all the St John of God caregivers for the care Janine received and for giving us the chance to maintain a deep connection through the Cuddle Bed. It really did bring us a feeling of greater inner strength and hope. 

I believe the Cuddle Bed is a real winner. Our family will be personally donating to this wonderful initiative, and I would encourage anyone who has the chance to do the same.

The Cuddle Bed just works, that’s all I can say. Love works.

 - Chris Chalwell

Family photo at Pinjarra

This photo is of our family last July when Janine was on day release and we all made it to the Magic Millions race day at Pinjarra Park. 

It was a very emotional and memorable day for us all to have this time together with Janine after she'd spent the previous 30 days in hospital after having two major operations and undergoing chemotherapy. 

It was really special to have this time together and see Janine in such high spirits. 

Janine is in the front row, second from the right.

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