FROM HOMELESS TO HERO
New Idea|November 23, 2020
LIVING ON THE STREETS CHANGED CHRIS’ LIFE – NOW SHE’S HELPING OTHERS

When Chris Cleary landed a job working in television, she thought it would be the start of a “fun and exciting” new challenge. She was wrong.

The 49-year-old Sydney medic’s role involved waiting on the sets of Australia’s biggest shows – including The X Factor, The Bachelor, and Australia’s Got Talent – just in case someone got injured.

“Take The Bachelor,” says Chris. “One morning I had to be in the Hunter Valley at 7 am because one of the couples was having a date in a hot-air balloon. You just sit there all day on the off-chance somebody hurts themselves.”

She may have been mingling with TV stars, but the day-to-day routine simply didn’t suit the mum-of-one, who admits reality TV “didn’t sit right with me”.

With that, she quit her job and, determined to make a real difference to the lives of those doing it tough, she launched her own charity called StreetMed providing free medical aid, mental health, and advocacy for the homeless and at-risk in western Sydney.

Having been homeless herself for a time, Chris knows first-hand the challenges that come with a life on the streets – she moved out of home at 18 and spent four years either couch-surfing or sleeping in her car.

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