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Reflecting on 16 years supporting Waikato families

You never quite know what life is going to throw at you.

As we take a moment to reflect on the 16-year anniversary of True Colours, the world is dealing with a global pandemic that no one could have predicted.  It has changed the way we go about our daily lives for the past few months and will continue to have an ongoing impact as we move into a new way of being for some time to come.

Covid-19 has changed the way we live.  It has taken many choices away from us.  It has placed pressure on us emotionally as we face an uncertain future.  It has highlighted the importance of good infection control.  It has placed pressure on relationships whilst strengthening others.  For many it has affected us financially.  It has also provided us a chance to stop and appreciate what’s really important.

Welcome to our world

We can’t help but draw parallels with what is happening in the world now with the work we do supporting families who have a child living with a serious health condition.  For the past 16 years we have supported families who have had their life changed forever by the diagnosis of a serious health condition.

All these challenges the country are currently facing are nothing new to many of the families we support.  These challenges are ones that they have already had to face before.  Isolation, infection control, financial and relationship pressures, uncertainty, fear, anxiety and pressures on mental wellbeing are all familiar to the families True Colours support.

As a country we have become accustomed to listening in each day to hear an update on the numbers of people who have contracted the Covid-19 virus.    But behind those numbers are many that we don’t hear about.  During the lockdown period, 16 new families were referred to True Colours for support as they faced their worst nightmare… of their loved child being medically fragile.  Our team have supported over 200 families during this time.  Serious illness doesn’t stop for a global pandemic. These numbers are just as important as the ones we hear daily on the news as they represent real families facing incredibly tough times.

While the rest of the country starts to return to some sort of ‘normalcy’for families who have a child with a serious health condition, it isn’t that easy.  For some it may never return to normal.    Children living with a serious health condition can be an incredibly long and hard journey, and one that sadly won’t always have the outcome their families hope for.

Staying connected during lockdown has been important, we want to know that we are not in this alone.  The same applies when a child has a serious health condition.  Families can feel very alone and disconnected from their world they once knew.  It can be hard to talk to friends and family when those friends and families don’t always understand what they are going through.

The True Colours team walk alongside families, to help them feel less alone.  We know the importance of connection and having someone to talk to that understands and can offer specialised support.

We are stronger together

Beating the spread of the COVID-19 virus has meant that New Zealand has had to come together as a team.  We are stronger together.  We have seen communities come together and show a community spirit that has helped us to keep connected and get through these tough times together.

It is well aligned with the way we as a team have supported families at True Colours, so together we will get through this.   We have shared in the heartbreak of a diagnosis, supported families through countless surgeries and treatments, been witness to many tears, and seen the real struggle of a parent facing life without their child. However, we have also witnessed incredible strength, bravery and resilience.  We have seen courage shine through as children live in the moment despite what is going on around them.    For the past 16 years we have shared in the lives of over 2100 families, providing them with a holistic wrap around support service that ensured they did not have to face their journey on their own.

A Community Trust

True Colours has always been built on community spirit.  We are funded by the community for the community.  Since we began in 2004 we have received incredible support from businesses and individuals, to community funders and community groups.  They have captured our vision walking alongside our team to allow us the honour of walking alongside families during the most unimaginable of times.  For this we are incredibly thankful.

Like everyone right now, we are unsure what the future holds for us.  One thing we do know is that as long as we have the community behind us anything is possible.  Together we are strong.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller.


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