Young widow collaborates with Australian charity Gather My Crew to honour late husband’s legacy

Jake and Lauren Smith's wedding photo

Married at 20 and widowed at just 21, Lauren Smith has been on a four-year journey to honour her late husband’s dying wish to help others in crisis.

Mrs Smith and her childhood sweetheart Jake were inseparable during Jake’s brave yet brutal ten-month battle with Stage 4 lymphoma. He passed away in October 2019.

True to their dream, Mrs Smith founded a charity and worked towards bringing a support tool to life for a number of years before she officially joined Gather My Crew last month.   

“We discovered we shared the same values and mission, and ultimately decided to join forces,” Mrs Smith said.

“I feel so grateful to have this opportunity and am really looking forward to making a bigger impact now that we have combined our resources,” she said.

Gather My Crew provides a free app which bridges the gap between the community who wants to help and the person in need of help.

It is an online tool in the form of an app, developed specifically to support people in crisis, to enable them to ask for and coordinate the practical help they need.

“Gather My Crew understands that Australians, just like myself, struggle to ask for help and most people want to help but they don’t always know what offer of assistance is needed,” Mrs Smith said.

“Gather My Crew exists to make sure people going through a crisis get the right kind of help from all their well-meaning friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues without all the stress that usually comes with coordinating help in a challenging time,” she said.

“It is a way to indirectly ask for help, without the fear of rejection, and then turns that help into a calendar that tracks and records who is doing what, and when. Members of your crew can choose what tasks they can do, for example grocery shopping, delivering medications, mowing the grass.” 

The caregiver can also use the app to post medical updates to their support community, rather than sending individual messages to everyone.

Mrs Smith said the app would have been invaluable during her husband’s cancer battle.

“As newlyweds, our life quickly turned upside down and appointments, chemotherapy treatment, surgeries, procedures, and constant illness became our normal,” Mrs Smith said.

“I became Jake’s wife and then his full-time carer in a matter of months,” she said.

Mr Smith suffered terribly during his many rounds of chemotherapy treatment, enduring the worst side effects, and vomiting all day, for months on end. 

Mrs Smith was constantly washing, and she unexpectedly ran out of washing powder one weekday morning. She was unable to leave Jake home alone to make a quick trip to the shops. 

“I remember thinking that there were so many people who had previously offered help, but who would genuinely be free and willing to buy washing power for me at the last minute and drive it out to our house,” she said. 

Following the success of their online tool, Gather My Crew launched their app at the end of 2021 and the charity wants to raise their profile in Queensland.

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP has supported Mrs Smith during her journey of establishing her charity before joining with Gather My Crew.

“Lauren is a beautiful soul and truly an inspiration to all who know her,” Mr Janetzki said.

“Lauren and Jake’s heartbreaking journey of love and loss has created a deep desire to help others and their loved ones during life’s challenges,” he said.

“By joining with Gather My Crew, it is heartening to see Lauren honour Jake’s legacy and guide others through their darkest days.”

Visit Gather My Crew at to see how they are helping people, help people.

The app can be used in any situation where coordinated support is required, such as during an illness, after an operation, after a birth, after a death, and caring for the elderly.


How to Get Started with the Gather My Crew App

1.       Download the app:    

Download the Gather My Crew App. It’s free and secure, with an Australian-based support desk who can help you with any questions. The app/crew can be managed by the person in need or by someone on their behalf, or a combination of the two. The person/people who manage the app and crew are called “The Captain”. You can change who the captain is at any time.

2.       Gather your crew:

Within the app, your support network is called your crew. Family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who has offered to help can be invited to join your crew through the SMS invite system.

3.       Create your help list:

The app was created by health professionals who know the importance of getting the right kind of help. Answer a short questionnaire and the app will build a list of common help requests.

4.       Create tasks:

To ask for help from your crew, create a task. Easily choose a commonly requested task from your Help List or write your own.

Common tasks can include cooking dinner, doing the laundry, walking the dog, school lunchboxes, picking up kids from school, transport to appointments, and grocery shopping.

The description, date and time of your tasks will be added to the shared calendar and published task list. Your crew can then “Accept” which tasks they can do.

5.       Communicate:

You can also add appointments to the calendar, create folders and chats with your crew using the “Messages” button. You can use in-app messages to send updates and upload photos.

6.       Keep the Crew on track:

The app keeps the crew on track through automated notifications for upcoming and completed tasks.