Dreams have become reality for a Woonona widow whose husband lost his life after falling 15 metres off a cliff at Bundeena last July.
Just before the fishing accident, Wayde Dunley and his high-school sweetheart Chelsea sent away their final audition video to be contestants on the popular home renovation show House Rules. But tragedy struck.
Mr Dunley, 28, was airlifted to St George hospital but later died following severe brain damage.
“There was nothing that they could do for him,” Mrs Dunley said.
At the time, the Mrs Dunley and their then seven-month-old daughter Koa were inundated with support, especially from the Rugby League community as her husband had played for the West Tigers and East Campbelltown Eagles.
The Prime7 program also reached out with support, offering their top three teams of the season to renovate their two-bedroom, 110-year-old miners cottage as part of the competition.
With the episodes to air in late July Mrs Dunley told the Mercury it has been very overwhelming but the renovation has been another item ticked off her late husband’s bucket list.
“We knew on our income there was no way in hell we’d ever to be able to afford to renovate and extend the property,” she said.
“He would be fist pumping around, he would want this for his girls.”
The television show’s generosity has a bittersweet taste as the young family had planned to have many more children in that house, but Mrs Dunley said she is overcome with emotion that they have had this opportunity.
“It would have meant everything to have that journey and experience with him, but obviously our journey was a bit different,” she said.
“The only thing that’s given me any peace is envisaging what Wayde’s bucket list would have been and ticking everything off it. And to have this opportunity, was really everything we were working towards.”
Mrs Dunley said she will watch the episodes, which begin Sunday week, with a full box of tissues in hand.
She said seeing the current television ad promoting it has been incredibly surreal and emotional as it’s still hard for her to fathom they are the family at the centre of a tragedy.
“When we found out about it, it absolutely broke our hearts,” House Rules host Johanna Griggs said.
“Where life can literally throw you a curve ball that knocks you off your feet, and you actually wonder whether you can pick yourselves up from that point ever.”
House Rules airs Sunday 7.00 and Monday 7.30 on Prime7. The Dunley family will be featured from Sunday July 22.