Kassandra Behrendt arrived in Australia from Greece with her family, at the tender age of eight, not knowing a word of English. Now 58, she is a self-made business woman with a successful jewellery label.

A self-taught jewellery designer who has been meticulously handcrafting exclusive one-of-a-kind designs for over two decades, Kassandra’s passion for her art is what makes her stand apart. Her pieces are in high demand and have been featured on international magazine covers, runways and on high profile women across the globe.

At the age of 20, life was thrown into turmoil as her mother was dying of breast cancer. She was the sole carer and understands carers fatigue intimately. While her friends were going to parties and enjoying their 20s, she stayed home to look after her mum. After being introduced to Ronnie Benbow, founder of The Carers Foundation Australia, she was instantly drawn to this special woman who was advocating for unpaid carers.

Kassandra believes in the Foundation’s mission to advocate for unpaid family carers of all ages in the community by providing unique health restoration programs to support emotional, physical and mental wellbeing at no cost to them.  This in turn helps to avert mental breakdowns in carers from compassion fatigue. These lifechanging programs teach new coping strategies, provide healing therapies, and bring carers together where they connect and form long-term meaningful relationships and support each other.

The reality is that there are children as young as eight years old caring for their parent or sibling, there are elderly people up to 85 years old still caring for their partner or disabled children, and the general public are totally unaware. After speaking with Ronnie at length and meeting a few of the carers that have gone through her program, Kassandra wanted to support the Foundation by hosting an event to raise funds.

She enlisted the help of her friend Margaret Campbell-Ryder, owner of Red Hill Gallery. This struck a chord with Margaret, who has experienced carers fatigue intimately herself. She was the sole carer for her cherished husband, who lost a kidney during one of four life-threatening operations, this resulted in his death and Margaret was left devastated. It was agreed that the Red Hill Gallery would be the perfect venue! The Gallery’s original artwork on the walls would be a beautiful backdrop for the Pagoni handcrafted jewellery.  Models Angela Clark and Mal Carlton who would be modelling the new Pagoni Collection, were thrilled to offer their time to this cause. Caterers were hired and the invitations went out.

The event was a brilliant success, raising much needed funds for The Carers Foundation Australia. A beautiful morning was enjoyed by all. To donate to The Carers Foundation Australia please go to www.thecarersfoundation.org

Models Angela Clark, Mal Carlton. Founder & Creative Director, Pagoni. www.pagoni.com.au