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Listening to families

This is my last blog for the year and as I think back over this time the team has certainly accomplished a lot throughout the last 12 months.

There have been a number of conferences, workshops and seminars that we have attended, and presented at. It is so important to keep our professional development up to date whilst also passing on to our colleagues the knowledge we gain regarding the work we do in supporting sick children and their families.

Last Friday we facilitated our last training day for the year for health professionals working in the sector of caring for seriously ill children and their families. It seemed fitting to have a parent, Maxine Sanders, speak from her perspective of her journey with her son as he lived with a serious illness and died at the age of 15 years. Maxine shared with us the challenges she had experienced, what was helpful and what was not helpful in this time of caring for her son. It was so valuable to hear Maxine’s lived experience and doing so also honoured her son. As we listened, the poignancy of Jake’s life was evident, and he continues to touch our lives as we remember him.

As health professionals it is always important to hear from children and families so that our care continues to be directed to what is essential for them, rather than what we might assume to be important.

As we have walked alongside many families this year, we continue to have the upmost respect for what can be accomplished at home when there is a sick child who requires complex care. The balance of caring for a sick child, attending to the needs of brothers and sisters and trying to maintain connections with those that are important in your life is a huge challenge. As we witness this balance, we acknowledge there is very little time for relationships and self-care; this unfortunately is an area that is most impacted on.

As I finish for the year, I want to honour the children and families who have touched my life and taught me so much. The team at True Colours are continually inspired by the families we support.
Our commitment is to continue to walk alongside the families who access our service, so that we may in some small way enable those who are on this journey of caring for a sick child, and of course the children themselves, to keep standing. We endeavour to encourage growth in resiliency of spirit and mind, and being a ‘witness’ to the strength and courage of all those we care for.

I wish you all a safe and gentle break. Time with family and friends can enrich our lives. This in itself can bring a positive energy to keep going. Arohanui and Haere ra!


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