The new website helping those struggling to reach out

A life-threatening illness has inspired two friends to help others.

When Kelly Bank's partner was diagnosed with cancer, she didn't know how to ask for help - but she's now set up a website to do just that.

Randal was diagnosed with colorectal bowel cancer in July 2015.  

"His GP recommended because of the symptoms he was having that he have a colonoscopy. That's when we found out he had a 5cm tumour in his bowel."

Since then, they've faced chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries.  

"We were struggling to ask for help, but had so many friends and family who wanted to help but didn't know how, and there was this massive mis-match in the middle."

Ms Banks says it was also difficult to work out what was needed.

"When people are in that state exactly like Randal and I were, when you're overwhelmed and stressed and on autopilot, you don't know what help you need."

A lightbulb moment led Banks to pair up with best friend Janine Williams and create Support Crew.

The website aims to help people dealing with illness, big life events such as divorce or redundancy, or natural disasters.

All users need to do is create a support page, invite people to the page and then create help requests. The website even prompts what help you might need.

The most common requests are meals, transport and social visits, but you can also ask for help with the laundry, walking the dog or even changing lightbulbs.

Ms Banks says location is no barrier.

"We got meals from my aunt in London, my friends in Cambridge, my friends in Nelson and my aunt in Whakatane."

The website was operational in time for Randal's last surgery.

"It really reduced the burden for me, but more importantly we really got to see the relief of our support crew so they finally felt that they knew exactly how they could help."

It's hoped another 1000 people will sign up by Christmas 2018, so when tragedy strikes people can focus on caring for their loved ones and let technology take care of the rest.