One moment is all it takes to change a life.
It was just after Christmas when Warracknabeal's LeeAnne Cooper was sitting on the banks of the Wimmera River in tears, when two young girls approached and asked if she was okay.
"I'd just lost my partner of 29 years... we only found out in September (of 2020) that he had cancer in his esophagus," she said.
"We went for an appointment in Ballarat two days before Christmas, and they told him he had days to live. We lost him on boxing day."
The speed between the diagnosis and the passing of her partner, William, took the family completely by surprise.
"It was very sudden. That's why it hit us so hard, I think," Ms Cooper said.
"The next few days were a blur. A few days later, I was lost and found myself in Horsham. I was sitting by the river, crying.
"At the time, I wasn't coping with the situation.... We had five kids together, who weren't coping either and I just wanted to be with him, I wanted to take my own life... I felt like I was losing my family."
Ms Cooper couldn't have predicted what would follow.
"The next thing I hear is two young girls, around the age of twelve, coming over. They came up to me on a paddleboat or a canoe, and they asked me if I was okay," she said.
"It changed my life for the better.
"I was really messed up; I didn't know what to do. I just wanted to be with him, and those four letters just changed my life. It was just beautiful for two young girls to recognise that I wasn't in a good spot."
The experience gave Ms Cooper a new lease on life and helped her through a difficult grieving process.
"I've come around, I'm doing better than I ever was," she said.
"I pulled myself together and came home. Now the family's close again and everything's great. We're all coping well.
"I think about those two girls all the time. I think it made a difference they were two young kids and not adults. Having five kids of my own, it was just so special. It meant a lot."
Her family were just as touched as she was by the moment and the kindness of the two young girls, Ms Cooper said.
"(When I told them) one of them started crying," she said.
"They said they were glad the girls were there and that I should find them and thank them, because I hadn't had the chance. When I looked up to thank them they were gone."
The incident has also given Ms Cooper the strength to fight her own battle with polycythemia, a type of blood cancer.
"I've been looking after myself, I've got control of it. Those girls helped me do it," she said.
"I just can't thank them enough. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. They inspired me massively.
"If I could speak to them I'd tell them they saved my life and my kids' lives as well, because they would have been buggered without mum and dad.
"I don't know what words I could find, but I'd thank them from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate the four letters they both said and how much they've changed my life."
Since that moment on the banks of the Wimmera River, Ms Cooper has found ways to love life again and enjoy her time.
"I'm doing a lot of gardening; I sell pot plants and garden ornaments. I really love it," she said.
But she'll never forget the kindness of two strangers on the banks of the Wimmera River.
"I've never stopped thinking about those girls. Four letters, that's all it took and they changed my life," she said.
"I can't imagine how many more lives they've saved."
R U OK? Day is held annually on the second Thursday of September and encourages people to reach out if they need help, stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times.
If you or a loved one need support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
If you are looking for a mental health service, visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
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