SunLive         

Volunteer for Child Cancer’s street appeal

Iris’ family. Image: Supplied.

Child Cancer Foundation is calling for volunteers to help out with its annual street appeal on February 28 and 29.

The appeal is the biggest annual fundraising event on Child Cancer Foundation’s fundraising calendar.

Every week, three children are diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand. Child Cancer Foundation provides tailored support to these children and their families without any government support so every donated dollar really counts.

Last year, more than 600 volunteers took to the streets to collect donations. The collections raised an incredible $232,913.

Volunteering is something of a calling as the Tuiono-Pauao whanau can attest. Their family was supported by Child Cancer Foundation when their seven year old daughter Iris was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.

Sadly, the bubbly little girl passed away just five months after being diagnosed but the impact the foundation had on the family lived on.

“When Iris was first diagnosed I didn’t really want to hear anything about Child Cancer Foundation and what they could do for us. I wasn’t in the right head space. Our Family Support Coordinator was incredibly supportive though and it quickly became apparent that our family could benefit from Child Cancer’s services,” says Iris’ mum, Darlene.

The family made use of Child Cancer Foundation’s Family Place in Wellington while Iris was in hospital and were supported through medical discussions with Iris’s health professionals.

When Iris passed away, counselling was arranged for Iris’ brother Tutavake. He also continued to collect special sibling Beads of Courage which the foundation provides to children diagnosed with cancer and family members following a diagnosis.

After Iris passed away the family were given the opportunity by the foundation to attend various events including remembrance days and the family slowly started to become more involved in everyday life again.

One thing led to another and soon the family started fundraising for the foundation.

“We felt so well supported throughout our experience with Iris that we felt like we needed to give back,” says Darlene.

“We signed up to volunteer for the foundation’s annual street appeal and encouraged extended family and friends to get involved. Things snowballed and it wasn’t long before everyone around us was fundraising for Child Cancer Foundation whenever they could.”

In 2016, inspired by his sister’s favourite rainbow bead, Tutavake came up with the idea of creating rainbow box troll costumes to wear while collecting donations for the appeal. Tuaanu, Iris and Tutavake’s dad made the costumes.

While collecting, the family were surprised by 30 of Iris and Tutavake’s school friends who arrived to support the family’s fundraising efforts.

“It was amazing and a little overwhelming for our family in a beautiful, humbling way. It showed us that the gift of charity goes beyond a few hours of volunteering. It has a ripple effect and touches others in ways you can’t even imagine.

“Volunteering also teaches humility and kindness and can make all the difference to someone in need which is why we will continue to volunteer and fundraise whenever we can.”

The Tuiono-Pouao whanau now coordinate all Street Appeal volunteering activities in Porirua and Tawa and will be out on the streets again in 2020.

“We are grateful to anyone who can spare a couple of hours to raise funds to help Kiwi kids and their families through their cancer experience. There are collection sites nationwide and just a couple of hours out of people’s days will make a huge difference,” says chief executive at Child Cancer Foundation, Robyn Kiddle.

More on SunLive...
0 Comments
You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
There are no comments on this article.