The Otis Foundation gifts retreat accommodation to those dealing with breast cancer.
The charity is the legacy of Judy Burley, a young woman who lived with breast cancer for seven years until her passing at 36 years of age. Proudly established in the Central Victorian township of Bendigo, The Otis Foundation has expanded significantly since our first guest stayed in 2002.
The Foundation has properties in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, and makes close to 3,500 nights accommodation available to Otis guests accompanied by family and friends each year.
The Otis Foundation’s properties offer time out to relax, reconnect and regroup for those dealing with the challenges of breast cancer.
- Judy Burley (1963 – 2000) was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 29. She passed away seven years later.
- The Otis Foundation was conceived and the Board established in 2000 by Judy’s husband, Andrew Barling, and a group of dedicated supporters.
- In 2001, The Otis Foundation established its first “office” – which operated from a kitchen table.
- Two purpose-built retreats began construction in 2002 on a site close to the home Andrew and Judy had shared in Mandurang (VIC). The retreats were named St Jude’s and St Hannah’s (Hannah was one of Judy’s favourite aunts).
- These retreats welcomed their first guests in late 2002 and Foundation was fully operational by March 2003.
- A chance meeting years later set the scene for expansion, when the Humphries family offered time at their holiday home in Thredbo (NSW) to Andrew to offer to Otis guests.
- The property model (of owners donating time at their holiday homes) continued to increase the offering to 17 retreats by 2014, with retreats located in Victoria, NSW and SA.
- In 2011, Paul Gray approached The Otis Foundation with the offer to build a property in memory of his wife, Kerri Gray. In 2016, Kez’s Hideaway opened to its first guests in Redesdale (Victoria).
- In 2017, The Otis Foundation has 36 retreats in Victoria, NSW, QLD, SA, WA and NT and will make close to 3,500 nights accommodation available for Otis guests, their families and friends.
- In 2019, The Otis Foundation became truly national with access to retreats in every state in Australia with the addition of our latest property in Tasmania.
Judy Burley’s story
Judy Burley was born in April 1963, she studied secondary school in Melbourne before relocating to Bendigo, where she fell in love with the historic Central Victorian city.
She met and married Andrew Barling whilst living in Adelaide, before she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. After completing her treatment, she and Andrew travelled to the United Kingdom where Andrew continued his surgical training. It was during this time that Judy was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
Judy and Andrew returned to Australia, settling in Bendigo on land in Tannery Lane, Mandurang (on Bendigo’s outskirts). It was here they built their dream home, a stunning rammed earth and glass residence. Judy was still receiving ongoing treatment when they moved in and immediately felt the benefits of living in the beautiful, natural environment within the Mandurang Valley.
It was the benefits of the beautiful environment and feelings of peace and comfort that motivated Judy to want to offer similar experiences to others facing the same health challenges.
Judy passed away on March 10th, 2000 at 36 years of age. Based on her wishes, The Otis Foundation was established that year by Andrew and many dedicated supporters. Andrew contacted Richard Guy, then Chairman of the Bendigo Bank, and asked him to join the Otis Board, whose fiscal experience and knowledge proved to be a great benefit to the newly formed Foundation.
In 2001, Andrew donated land from his existing property and, with the help of local tradespeople, purpose built two villas – St Jude’s and St Hannah’s - to provide the sanctuaries Judy had so wanted to offer.
Naming The Otis Foundation
Many of our guests and supporters ask how The Otis Foundation got its name. It was, in fact, Judy's dog, Otis, who was the inspiration for naming this worthwhile charity. Judy did not want to be the focus of the organisation and felt that Otis was a wonderful name. Interestingly, the dog itself was named after musician, Otis Redding!
With Judy’s vision – to enable those living with breast cancer to benefit from the restorative power of nature – firmly in mind, Andrew founded The Otis Foundation in 2000. Attributing the organisation’s success to the community from which it grew, Andrew believes Otis delivers a “warm and caring personal gift” to those in need. Andrew is now remarried with a son and works as a general/thoracic surgeon in private practice.