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Helping children in palliative care

Helping children in palliative care

5 March 2014

Imagine the pain of nursing your terminally ill child.

It is without a doubt the worst thing a parent could ever go through. However, it’s a reality for hundreds of New Zealand families every year.

Throughout the weeks and months (and occasionally years) of a child’s terminal illness many families experience a gentle slide into poverty, as one or both parents stop working.

The Harcourts Foundation is proud to be supporting the Guardian Angels Charitable Trust, which aims to minimise financial stressors for families with babies, children and young people who have been referred to the Paediatric Palliative Care Service at Starship Hospital.

As well as helping families pay their day to day bills, Guardian Angels has set up a Special Wishes Project which helps with the special or unusual needs that arise for which there is no alternative funding.

A Harcourts Foundation grant of $2856 is going towards this incredibly worthwhile project.

A recent example of the type of request the project supports is a wish expressed by 16 year-old, who has advanced Duchennes Muscular Dystophy, a debilitating condition that has left him completely dependent upon others for all aspects of his day to day care.

He is essentially bedbound and requires considerable support to get him out of the house. When asked what he would be doing for Christmas, he said he would be spending the day with his caregiver while his family went to church – as they were unable to pay $200 for the cost of a mobility taxi. Guardian Angels Charitable Trust was able to fund the taxi van and allow him to spend the day with his family.

In another case a dying child wanted to be able to either go to the movies or visit the Sky Tower. His father, who stays with his son in Auckland while his wife continues working in Hamilton, said he could wheel his son there from the hospital in a wheelchair, but was there anyway there could be some help with the cost of the ticket. The Guardian Angels Charitable Trust paid for a taxi and tickets to both the movies and Sky Tower.

Trustees Helen Jackson and Leanne Hegan say it is heart breaking the situations they deal with every day, but the Guardian Angels Charitable Trust is deeply committed to removing unnecessary stress from families already going through so much.

Bob Stubbs, who has recently retired as business owner of Harcourts Greenlane, says one of the amazing things about Guardian Angels Charitable Trust is there are no overheads. Guardian Angels is run solely by volunteers and has no administrative costs so 100% of all donations go to helping the families in need.

Mr Stubbs says he and the Harcourts Foundation are humbled to support such a wonderful cause.

“What the families go through is unbearable. We are happy to make a contribution towards a charity doing such amazing work to help in a practical way.”


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