KIND ACT: Ilona Popp, Ebony Potts and Nina Elliott-Bullen create a garden for Samantha Elliott, of Wollongbar, to provide her with fresh food while she undergoes cancer treatment.
KIND ACT: Ilona Popp, Ebony Potts and Nina Elliott-Bullen create a garden for Samantha Elliott, of Wollongbar, to provide her with fresh food while she undergoes cancer treatment. Marc Stapelberg

Garden therapy helping mum through cancer ordeal

IT'S the little things like keeping busy, eating healthy and enjoying the garden that help Wollongbar mum Samantha Elliott cope with the nausea, fatigue and pain of chemotherapy.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and told she would need six months of chemotherapy.

When her daughter Nina Elliott-Bullen told her friends Ilona Popp and Ebony Potts the news, the girls came up with a new idea to help Nina's mum through the ordeal.

"As soon as I told them about mum they just said, 'yep, we're building her a vegie garden', and that brought tears to my eyes when they said that," Nina said.

"Our group is very much about organic food and how much it really helps to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

"A lot of people who are sick can't always afford, or have the ability, to look after themselves so, if they have that in their own backyard, it helps them achieve that.

"We want to get the word out there in the Northern Rivers that we're happy to do this to other people who have also been affected by cancer, free of charge."

The girls are key members of Guerrilla Gardening Byron Bay - a group that meets weekly to plant seeds and grow ideas on how to create public food gardens.

Ms Potts said it was her own experience of losing her mum to cancer that made her think of the vegie garden idea.

She said she wished there had been an initiative like this to help her mum deal with cancer.

Fortunately, Ms Elliott has a good prognosis for survival.

She said she looked forward to being able to tend to her herb, vegie and fruit garden.

"It was really such a lovely thing," she said.

"It made me feel really special and honoured that they'd taken time to do that.

"This is great because I've got to keep busy, I can't just sit around."



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