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Kenzie's Gift Unveils #InLaughingMemory To Support Grieving Kiwi Kids This Christmas

Kenzie's Gift has introduced the #InLaughingMemory initiative this festive season. The campaign encourages New Zealanders to share the funniest and quirkiest memories of their loved ones who have passed away.

Nic Russell established Kenzie's Gift in honour of her daughter Kenzie, who died from childhood cancer at the age of three, to support the mental health and well-being of young Kiwis and their families dealing with serious illness or loss.

Kenzie tragically died a few days after Christmas in 2005. Russell said the run-up to the festive season can be challenging for grieving people and kids.

"The world is moving forward, with excitement building and people discussing what their families have planned for the holidays.

"But for those of us living with grief, it can be a very isolating and lonely time. People often avoid talking to you about loved ones who have died. If you want to silence a room or get away from an overly talkative relative, mention the 'D' word.

"That's why we came up with the idea of #InLaughingMemory. Friends, their kids, and I, who live with grief, love to share funny memories of our loved ones, and we have found that this gives others the 'permission' to share theirs, too. And some of the stories are hilarious," she said.

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New Zealand comedian Jeremy Corbett has shared his #InLaughingMemory and encouraged others to get involved.

"My dear late mum only swore once. We were playing cards, and out it came. The F-Bomb! I had never heard it before. She wasn't strict with swearing, but she led by example. Stunned, all her four boys sat there with mouths open for about 30 seconds before we stored it away to tease her later."

Dr. Freyja Mann, clinical psychologist for Kenzie's Gift, added, "Grief is as unique as the person we miss. Remembering those bursts of laughter and moments of joy plays a vital role in celebrating our loved ones and holding onto their positive influence in our lives. Laughter also helps us cope with those tough times."

"We'd love people to share their #InLaughingMemory moments and donate," says Russell. "Grief is especially tough on our young ones, and Kenzie’s Gift is currently supporting 53 young Kiwis with one-on-one therapy through our psychologists and psychotherapists. Last month, we had 17 referrals come in.

"Kenzie's Gift funds 12 therapy sessions, costing $2100. Our goal through the campaign is to raise $21,000 for ten young Kiwis who are missing someone special this Christmas to get the support they need at a time when laughter and joy feel just out of reach."

How to Participate in #InLaughingMemory:

Share a Memory: Visit to share your funny, uplifting stories or memories on our Memory Wall for everyone to see. See the Memory Wall here.

Donate to Every dollar, big or small, helps a child in need.

Spread the Word: Encourage friends and family to join in. The more laughter we share, the greater our impact. Share your memory as a post or video. Use #InLaughingMemory and tag @KenziesGift on Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok. Sometimes, a good laugh is the best gift we can give.

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