A Feel-Good Story After a Tumultuous Year

28 January 2021

For more than 13 years, Jodie and Peter Simpson have poured their heart and soul into Melon’s Cottage, nestled just outside the picturesque town of Lakes Entrance. The cottage honours their son, Eli, fondly known as Melon, who sadly lost his battle with cancer at 13 months old.

Wanting to give back to other families facing a cancer diagnosis, the Simpson family have shared their beautiful Melon’s Cottage with Challenge, giving our families the chance for a much-needed week’s holiday.

In the middle of last year, Jodie and Peter decided that Melon’s backyard needed a revamp – a makeover which would help the outdoor area become a more disabled friendly space. They had a vision of a fairy-tale garden where kids could play for hours upon hours, and parents could relax under the beautiful, warm sun.

While Jodie and Peter worked tirelessly to plan and fundraise for their new project, their good deeds and efforts did not go unnoticed by the crew from Channel 9 program, Open Homes Australia. The show’s co-producer and co-presenter, Bessi Kay, wanted to not only shine a light on the amazing work Jodie and Peter were doing with Challenge; but she also wanted to help bring their dream backyard to life.

Quietly behind the scenes, the entire production team and brand partners liaised with each other to discuss how and what needed to be done to see this dream become a reality. Completely unbeknownst to Jodie and Peter, they managed to pull it altogether and deliver a surprise like no other.

After a year of much hardship with the horrendous Australian bushfires that ravaged the Gippsland area as well as the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis, this is a feel-good story we all need to hear. We cannot encourage you all enough to check out this episode of Open Homes Australia.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the building and organisation of this project. Thanks to your generosity, our families will be able to create many more special memories with each other.

Jodie and Peter, thank you for everything you do. There are not enough words to express how grateful we are.