It’s been a Christmas like no other for New Plymouth’s Susie Hofmans and her two kids.
Not only are they spending today at a managed isolation facility, her parents are isolating at another hotel and her husband, Steve, is home alone.
Hofmans, children Jesse, 11, and Petra, 12, and parents Neville and Lyn Goldsworthy, made a frantic dash to Perth in October to see her sister, Kaye Anstey, who was dying of brain cancer.
Diagnosed in February this year, the family were initially unsure how long the fit and active 49-year-old would have.
Anstey, a mum to two teen boys, Zac and Max, had surgery later that month, which the family made a brief visit for, before returning home just before Covid-19 hit and the country went into lockdown.
The surgery was successful – surgeons managed to get 90 per cent of the tumour – before she underwent radiation and chemotherapy.
It went so well for Anstey that she even had the strength to take part in another bodybuilding competition, one of her passions. That was in October.
Later that month, they got a call that she had had a rapid decline and they decided to drop everything, endure the two weeks’ managed isolation in Perth and hope that she could hold on until they got there.
“The two weeks of iso was very strict. We weren’t allowed to leave the room for 14 days,” Hofmans said.
“We battled every day to get an exemption as Kaye was changing every day and we were scared she would pass before we could get to her.”
After 10 days they started to get some traction and were finally given approval to leave one day early, on day 13.
Fortunately, her sister was a fighter and was holding on for their visit.
However, after just nine days she succumbed to the disease.
“My sister was strong and positive; she was a wonder woman. What she endured during the past nine months, and competing in a body figure competition one month before she passed was a testament to the women she was.
“Quarantine is nothing compared to that.”
Being made aware of the dwindling managed isolation vouchers, they managed to secure a spot for December 15.
Now, they’re just desperate to get back to New Plymouth where father and husband, Steve, is keenly waiting.
“Steve has sent gifts, including undies and socks for the kids and a bottle of Moet for me, to open five days leading up to Christmas,” Hofmans said.
“Our neighbours have sent us a box of presents for the kids and mini Moet’s for me, another neighbour sent us a gift box of sweet treats.
“We have been so well looked after, we are just grateful for the generosity.Having Christmas morning via Facetime with Steve was hard, more tears, but we are used to crying now.”
Her parents were also currently in managed isolation but at Auckland’s Novotel in Ellerslie, and were given several options for Christmas Day. They opted for the poached eggs and baked beans for breakfast.
After 10 weeks away – four of those in managed isolation facilities – the Hofmans head home, exhausted, on Tuesday.
The Goldsworthy’s have an extra week to spend in isolation before also returning to New Plymouth, and the family finally being together again, with their beloved sister and daughter forever in their hearts.
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