Chance to be by sister’s side finally here

Leola Wilson, of Timaru, chats to her sister, Janina Ryder, who she plans to visit in Melbourne...
Leola Wilson, of Timaru, chats to her sister, Janina Ryder, who she plans to visit in Melbourne soon. PHOTO: NATASHA PARRANT
Sisters Leola Wilson and Janina Ryder will soon be swapping Facetime for a face-to-face meeting now the transtasman bubble has opened.

Timaru resident and Cancer Society centre manager Leola Wilson is planning to book flights to visit Ms Ryder in Melbourne as soon as her passport is renewed.

Ms Ryder was diagnosed with breast cancer in early February, and Mrs Wilson said she wanted to fly over to support her sister.

While Ms Ryder’s partner was with her in Melbourne, none of her family were. The sisters’ mother and siblings were all in South Canterbury.

Their mother, who also lives in Timaru, is over 70 and has decided not to travel overseas.

"I would feel uncomfortable sending my mum to Australia," Mrs Wilson said.

She said it was important for her family to reunite, especially during such a tough time.

Ms Ryder only just finished radiation treatment last week and could not travel to New Zealand.

She had already struggled to balance work at the Crown Casino in Southbank with Covid-19 restrictions, as well as fighting breast cancer, Mrs Wilson said.

Ms Ryder said she was recovering slowly and was excited about her sister’s visit, especially as no-one had been able to travel when Covid-19 border restrictions were in place.

She teared up as she said it was important to have support from her family.

Mrs Wilson hoped to visit her sister at a long weekend once her new passport was issued and she had been able to book flights.

She said she did not want to "jinx it" by booking flights before sorting out her expired passport.

It had been a long wait for the bubble to open, she said.

"It’s about time."

Mrs Wilson’s husband planned to fly his daughter from Townsville, Queensland, to New Zealand next week.


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