New Zealand Charity Kenzie's Gift has been lifted into overtime with over $100,000 in grants awarded towards the support of young people seriously affected by serious illness, cancer diagnosis or bereavement. For the charity, the awarded grants will provide essential funding and resources to secure and increase therapist availability and reach.
Since the charities inception in 2006, over 2,000 one-on-one sessions have helped children and families across the country. With estimates showing one in every 20 children will be affected by the death of a loved one by the age of 18, there is scope to reach so many more who might otherwise be left to grieve alone.
Unfortunately New Zealand's death-adverse culture usually fails to appropriately address the intense and emotionally traumatic situation for youth, leaving them in isolation as family members work through their own grief and financial impacts. The results of this can lead to social, behavioral and academic problems, which, with the help of therapists can be recognized and addressed in a considerate and appropriate manner. This investment reduces not only the misery, loneliness and trauma associated with such family challenges, but saves millions in future costs to the health and welfare system, education and social costs.
As part of their service, Kenzie's Gift have developed Journey Kits and Memory Kits for children and parents going through cancer. The kits address understanding and encourage questions, provide information and help record the journey through cancer for both parents and children. Over 600 kits have been delivered for free to families across New Zealand.
Brought to life as a result of CEO Nic Russell's own journey through cancer and grief, Kenzie's Gift is dedicated to the fighting spirit of her daughter Mackenzie who at just 2 years 5 months old began her battle for survival. Although Kenzie eventually won her inital battle with cancer she did not survive.
Her little body was pushed further than it could manage and on the 29th December 2005 Kenzie died from multiple organ failure. Yet through all of this tragedy there comes hope. During her short life Kenzie endured more than most of us wish to comprehend, yet she learnt to live, to love and to laugh again. Through Nic's training as a play specialist she was able to help reignite Kenzie's spirit.
To ensure Kenzie's lasting legacy we want to give other families this opportunity to nurture and promote the emotional wellbeing and good mental health of children, young people and their families affected by cancer. Margaret Holmes, Director of Engine Room CA Ltd and Kenzie's Gift Board Member is delighted with the grants. "This year we have a strong financial foundation to support children throughout New Zealand through the nationwide distribution of our Journey and Memory Kits. We are very grateful to the philanthropic trusts, corporate and individual donors who support us."
Engine Room have been longstanding supporters of Kenzie's Gift, donating $3000 of administration and accounting services annually.
Kenzie's Gift has helped move many families back into a new normal, becoming a keystone in the recovery of youth across the nation. If you know of someone who could use the services of Kenzie's Gift through illness or bereavement, or would like to become a Kenzie's Gift hero supporting through donations fundraising or volunteering, get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their Supporting Us page for more opportunities to get your cape on and become someone's hero.