Connect with us

My Weekly Preview

A garden to cherish

Sami Muirhead is grateful for the outpouring of Sunshine Coast community support to build a terminally ill girl and her mum a beautiful new backyard.


A garden to cherish

Sami Muirhead is grateful for the outpouring of community support to build a terminally ill girl and her mum a beautiful new backyard.

Zhalia now has a garden. It’s a beautiful space with a tranquil water feature, a swing, and hundreds of saplings to bloom around the little five-year-old’s feet.

I recently wrote about Zhalia, a Mooloolah Valley girl with Acaidi syndrome. It will rob her of her life in the next few years and she has damage to her brain that causes seizures around the clock. A cruel hand indeed for her and for her darling single mum, Sally.

Sal simply wanted a safe haven for the two of them to be able to play together and enjoy being outside. Their old backyard was dusty and rocky (Zhalia would eat the rocks not knowing any better) and it had snakes.

Well, thank you Sunshine Coast for rallying around Zhalia and granting this gift. I was floored by the generosity of volunteers and business people who came together to create the dream and change for the better the precious time Zhalia and Sally have left together. They now have the most lovely of backyards with a sensory play area; running water feature and plants everywhere.

More than 70 people donated their time, money, skills and love to make this happen. Jason from iLandscapes was one of the superstars as the foreman of the project. Rebecca was one of the local ladies who baked treats to keep the tradies going as they transformed the garden.

Rebecca sent me an email offering to help that read: “I’m not an important peep, however I do love to bake and would like to supply a small selection of biscuits to feed the troops. You see, after 25 years married to the most wonderful man that walked this earth, he was diagnosed with cancer and in 10 weeks my life fell apart.

“That was 14 years ago. Unfortunately, some days it feels like yesterday. Our two beautiful children are grown and have their lives to live. So, it’s just me and I get my solace when I’m in the kitchen baking.”

Bec cooked enough food to feed an army.  She and I looked at that garden when it was finished and stood arm in arm and had a silent tear together when it was first unveiled to Zhalia.

The Lion’s Club cooked sausages, Nick from the movies bought an esky full of choc tops and Make-A-Wish donated playground equipment. People worked for a week on the garden – mulching, plumbing, hammering, digging and building – some dropped off vegetables from their gardens, some gave money and others volunteered to mow Sally’s front lawn for a year.

Zhalia’s garden is filled with love and hope and is living proof of how generous this region is when it comes to helping. In a world of horrific news stories, I was reminded humans are not a lost cause. My wish is for some peace and laughter for Sally and Zhalia in that magical backyard.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

More in Opinion

Our Sister Publications

Sunshine Coast News Your Time Magazine Salt Magazine
To Top