Two cars into three therapists just won’t go! This was the dilemma facing Rainbow Place, an arm of Hospice Waikato that supports children and young people coping with serious illness.
With just one aged vehicle and one newer car, Rainbow Place’s three nurse therapists were struggling to meet the growing demand for counselling services in Waikato and Coromandel, leading to long waits for families, particularly in rural areas.
Rural Women New Zealand heard about Rainbow Place’s difficulties, and decided it was the perfect way to use a generous bequest they had recently received from the estate of long-time Rukuhia branch member, Chica Gilmer. Chica died in August 2009 after a short battle with cancer.
Janet Williams of Rukuhia branch says, “The rural community and children were the passions in Chica’s life.
She was an educator and had been the deputy principal at Tauranga Girls College. We decided that a project to continue Chica’s work would be ideal.”
Jim Wright Nissan in Hamilton came up with a generous deal on a new Nissan Micra, and Rukuhia branch raised the balance of the funds needed, with support from other Rural Women New Zealand groups in the Waikato.
Rainbow Place Manager and Children’s Nurse, Penny Parsons says, “I can’t tell you what it’s going to mean to us. Our case load has increased substantially as people have got to know about Rainbow Place.”
Rainbow Place therapists travel around 2,500 kilometres a month, mainly to families in remote areas, or those unable to travel to Hamilton.
“When things are bad for families, lives are complicated enough without having to travel big distances to get support,” she says.
Rainbow Place’s nurses and therapists support both children who have a serious illness and those who need support for grief and loss due to the illness or death of a family member.