Alan Graham tears up as he talks about having to drive away from his wife who was in Dubbo Hospital.
Just days before, Mr Graham and his wife Linda had been packing for a trip to Thailand with the extended family.
Mrs Graham said she went to put something in the recycling bin and her leg collapsed.
Cancer had eaten away at her femur. She was sent to hospital where it was replaced by a metal rod.
The first night, Mr Graham slept on a lounge at the hospital, using three towels as a blanket.
He was driving back and forth between Dubbo and Coolah every day to make sure the house, and their beloved dog Brick were okay, before returning to check on his wife.
"When he went home, I couldn't sleep... Your mind's going through all these things... I can't send a text, can't phone him because he's on the road. I say, 'as soon as you get home phone me and the same when you leave'," Mrs Graham said.
"It was honestly the most worrying time, knowing your husband's driving 1800 kilometres in the week going backwards and forwards."
Mr Graham was equally worried at the thought of leaving his wife when she was in pain.
Then someone told him about Macquarie Home Stay.
Relief for the Grahams
Driving into the facility, Mr Graham said it was "like paradise".
"I couldn't speak because I thought it was so wonderful that this establishment existed," he said.
After his first night at the facility he said he woke up thinking it must have been a dream because it was "so wonderful".
Mrs Graham has now joined her husband at Macquarie Home Stay. Next month will mark 50 years that they've been together but right now, Mrs Graham is just excited they're under the same roof so they can hold hands at night.
Cancer patients like Mrs Graham, and their loved ones, will be the ones to benefit the most from Macquarie Home Stay's expansion.
Expansion under way
Work has just started on an $8 million new accommodation precinct, which will be known as the CWA of NSW Guesthouse. It consists of 26 self-contained units with a mixture of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and family units.
There will also be a common room with kitchen, dining and living areas, guest laundry facilities and an outdoor area.
Macquarie Home Stay director Rod Crowfoot said it was "quite humbling" to have the building work started.
"So much work has gone into getting us to this point... so the fact that we can now say that 'yes, construction has now started and we're under way' is actually really exciting because it provides some support to the community knowing there will be more accommodation available at the end of the year," he said.
Renascent Regional has been appointed as the building contractor.
In November 2023 when he announced the new building would be named after the CWA, Mr Crowfoot said the thing he was most excited about was the tea and coffee station in the common area.
"For me, it's not just a tea and coffee station, it's the process of making a cup of tea... Radiotherapy treatment can last for 15 minutes, so there's 23/5 hours in a day they've got to fill in," Mr Crowfoot said.
He envisions residents being able to take the time to boil a kettle, let tea bags steep and then having a cuppa in some quality china in a relaxing sitting area.
Funding the facility
The former NSW government has contributed $2.5 million towards the facility.
Dubbo MP Dugald Sauders said the Western Cancer Centre meant more people were coming to Dubbo for Cancer treatment and having somewhere to stay that was affordable made a "huge difference".
Sponsorship opportunities for the new precinct are still available.
Mr Crowfoot is hoping to raise another $475,000 towards the facility. He said Regional Australia Bank has provided a loan for the accommodation and fundraising and sponsorship would help to reduce those debt levels as quickly as possible.
But further funding will continue to be needed.
"We've still got another two accommodation precincts we need to build on top of this one, so our ongoing funding and grant applications on top of this won't finish, we've still got a lot of work to do," Mr Crowfoot said.