Children expecting a visit from Rainbow Place’s nurses and therapists can now look forward to shorter waiting times, thanks to the gift of a bright red Nissan car to be named ‘Chica’, donated by Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) at the weekend.
The therapists and nurses at Rainbow Place – an arm of Hospice Waikato – travel thousands of kilometers each month throughout Waipa, Waikato and Coromandel, supporting children and young people who are coping with serious illness or bereavement.
When members of RWNZ’s Rukuhia branch heard about Rainbow Place’s dire lack of transport, particularly for visiting families in rural areas, they were keen to help.
“The branch had been asked to distribute a bequest from one of its treasured members and former teacher, Chica Gilmer, and we felt giving a car to Rainbow Place was the perfect way to use that bequest,” says Shirley Read, RWNZ’s National Councillor for the Waikato region.
Rukuhia branch members soon raised the rest of the money needed to buy the car, with help from other RWNZ groups in the region, while Jim Wright Nissan came up with a generous deal on a new Nissan Micra.
Shirley Read says “It’s great to see what a small number of people can do when they all work together, and to have Chica’s name remembered in this way.”
On Saturday the handover day arrived, and 30 RWNZ members, MPs and the deputy mayor gathered at Rainbow Place for a key presentation ceremony.
“As we waited in the car park, the excitement and anticipation was palpable,” says Rainbow Place Manager, Penny Parsons.
“The Rainbow Place team are so grateful to Rural Women New Zealand members. We just want to say a huge thank you, not only on behalf of the staff, but also on behalf of the children, young people and their families who we now visit, and those we will be visiting in the future. It is the support of our local community that enables us to carry on doing our work with children and families going through ‘tough stuff’.”
RWNZ congratulates Tori Van Straalen of Otorohanga, the winner of an iPad donated by Jim Wright, for correctly guessing the number of rainbow-coloured balloons that filled the car before the official handover to Rainbow Place.