A Friend In Need
NEXT|December 2018
A Friend In Need

Getting by with a little help from your friends sounds simple, but when life takes a turn it can be hard to reach out. Enter Kelly Banks and Janine Williams of Support Crew, who’ve made asking for help – and getting it – easy for all

Erin Fisher

When Kelly Banks’ husband Randal was diagnosed with cancer midway through 2015, she suddenly took on the role of chief support person for her partner. Then after reading an article in NEXT that said everyone needed an organiser, a light bulb flicked on. Together with Janine Williams, the two created Support Crew, an online support platform that helps Kiwis give and get a hand. Randal has now been clear of cancer for 12 months, but this inspiring duo are only just getting started with their mission to educate, empower and support as many people as they can.

SHARING THE STRUGGLE.

When life throws us curve balls, it’s easy to say that we’re fine and try to keep on top of everything ourselves. Having gone through a three-year cancer journey with her husband, Kelly knows this feeling all too well, she juggled all of Randal’s treatments, surgeries, transport and meals on her own. Friends and family offered their support, but the challenge was bridging the gap between receiving a phone call and receiving some practical help. “I think fundamentally you’re overwhelmed and on autopilot – you don’t know what you need,” she says. “And also, we’re not good at asking for help.”

At first Kelly didn’t want Randal’s cancer to burden other people, but she soon realised that by letting others help, she was actually giving a gift to those people. She could see it was deeply rewarding for people to assist in a way that was truly needed, and it gave them a special part in the journey too.

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December 2018