Christina & Joy
This initiative started in May 2016 when Christina took her daughter Arabelle to her GP to check what she thought was just a nappy rash. The GP rushed Christina and Arabelle to the CAA ward of Christchurch Hospital with suspected meningitis. Even though the staff are truly amazing, it was very a stressful, emotional and difficult day. While in the unit, Arabelle was given an age appropriate 'goodie' bag full of things to entertain her. It gave Christina the idea to put a pack together for the Mum or Carer in an effort to encourage and improve their day too. Christina self funded the first packs, unsure of what the reaction would be, but was thrilled to hear the feedback from the Christchurch Children's Acute Assessment (CAA) Unit.
Her friend Joy Reid got on board and together they have grown the initiative to provide gift bags for Mothers and Carers in the CAA Unit but also the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Joy Reid's first born (Jonathan) spent his first week of life in an incubator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was a very frightening and vulnerable time for her and she found it very difficult to be separated from her newborn.
She and Christina are determined to ease the burden on new Mums by providing gift bags for every Mother who has a child in NICU unit in Christchurch Hospital (around 80 bags a month) and also gift bags to the most in-need mothers through the CAAU (around 50 bags a month).
As a mother who has had two children spend time in the CAA ward I received one of these lovely gift packs a few weeks back. I was so tired, stressed and upset and when the nurse brought it in to me in the middle of the night once my baby had finally gone to sleep I read the beautiful handwritten note and saw the lovely goodies and just cried knowing that people understood what I was feeling. It's simply a wonderful touching gesture. Thank you!