February 2013

Posted by: Helen on March 25, 2013

February 2013

I just can’t believe this is our first update of 2013 for all our wonderful supporters. 2012 just seemed to zoom by. I meant to sit down and write this letter before Christmas but we were all just so busy it simply didn’t happen. However, serendipity works in strange ways sometimes. If I had written this before Christmas I might not have had time to pause and reflect upon the wonderful things we were able to do for our families because of the continued generous support from so many of you.

The weeks before Christmas are a crazy time for GuardianAngels. While the clinical work with the children goes on we also put our time and energy into ensuring that Christmas is the very best it can be for their families. Christmas 2012 saw us again delivering hams as the result of the continued generosity of one of our benefactors. We are very grateful for this continued commitment and the grateful comments back from families after Christmas are a humbling indication of how hard it is for so many of our families at such a sensitive time in their lives. Our families were all given PaknSave vouchers and Warehouse Vouchers so that they could decide what to buy for their children and what they needed on their tables to supplement the Christmas Hams. Our thanks must goSkyCityfor their generous donation of warehouse vouchers and phone top up cards, Deutches Bank for the wonderful supply of presents for the children and to the families and friends who very kindly gave their time to sort, wrap and deliver all the goodies. For those of you who support GuardianAngels via financial donations – a huge thank you for the $8000 that went into PakNSave vouchers that were given out in the month of December.

2011 proved to be another very full year for the Paediatric Palliative Care Team at Starship with an increase in the number of children we care for and, sadly, the ongoing challenge of supporting children and families through end-of-life care. As the social worker in the team I am acutely aware that we just simply could not support families nearly so well without the support of GuardianAngels, and of, course, all of you who support the trust in so many ways. I thought the best way to show how the trust makes a difference for children and families is to give an example. Our team received a referral for a child whose family had been told she had hours to days to live. The family wished to take her home but there were things they would need to make it safe and comfortable for this little girl to go home. There was equipment that needed to go into the home that was provided by the community health teams but there were other things that the family needed for which there is no other provision than charitable sources. We needed to act quickly and GuardianAngels responded to the requests immediately. I was able to give PaknSave vouchers so the family could buy the food they needed for the next week or so. I also gave warehouse vouchers for the purchase of clothes and incidentals for a child who had been in hospital for months. The washing machine had broken down which was a concern. GuardianAngels sourced a good second hand machine which was delivered the next day. The house needed curtains – they were provided by one of the GuardianAngels supporters. This little girl stabilised when she got home so the family decided they would like to do something to celebrate her recent birthday (she had been very unwell in hospital on the day). GuardianAngels organised a taxi van to take her and her family to Butterfly Creek where the owners had given free entry and then made it a very special birthday for this little girl. GuardianAngels paid an outstanding power bill and then ensured that the family had top ups on their phones so that they could call for help at any time. Small things – but it meant that this child could be at home and that her family could be together and do all the things they needed to do to make her remaining time as good as it could be. This little girl died peacefully surrounded by her very loving family. As sad as that is, it is also a good example of the work the trust does.

Adopt-A-Family. This little project continues to do well. Our thanks to the families, groups and companies that continue to support this project. I have the pleasure of delivering the donated groceries and I know the families who are being supported are immensely grateful for the continued commitment to this work.

The Freezer Project at Starship. To our wonderful co-ordinator, our volunteer cooks and drivers –thank-you for the fantastic work you all do. The quality of the meals that are delivered is just amazing. We have one PPC family who have been at Starship for a very long time and who describe the meals they have received as fantastic and a real pleasure to just know that there is a good meal waiting at the end of a long day looking after their very fragile child.

2013 is now well and truly upon us. We look forward to the coming year in hope – hope that there will be fewer children referred to palliative care and hope that all our supporters remain well and have a really great year.

Kia tau te rangimarie (be in peace).

Jess Jamieson

Senior Social Worker

Paediatric Palliative Care

Starship Children’s Hospital.