It seems hard to believe that 13 years ago True Colours was being birthed!  As I reflect back on that time, I remember the passion and commitment I had to care for children with serious health issues that at the time did not fit within Hospice criteria. It was a huge move for me to step out from Hospice Waikato.  It had been a significant part of my life and I believed in the Hospice vision and philosophy, and still do.   However, it became very apparent that many families were not accessing Hospice services for a number of reasons.  There were also families who did not necessarily require a palliative care service but still needed support.  Therefore, with a strong motivation to ensure all children and their families could access an appropriate service, whatever their health condition, True Colours was born.

A thousand sewing needles

There are so many people over the years that have captured the heart of the work and contributed in so many ways.  Whether it is in the sharing of their time, their skill, their resources, their funds or their wisdom and knowledge, it has been significant for the growth and development of True Colours.  I am reminded of McBride’s words;

Close your eyes and listen.  What do you hear?  The beating sound you hear is not your heart. It is the sound of a thousand sewing needles.  The world is no melting pot, but rather a giant quilt made up of millions of tiny patches, all of which create a beautiful mosaic that covers and warms us all’.

I resonate strongly with these words.  Every ‘tiny patch’ creating True Colours has been from the thousand sewing needles of many individuals and businesses.

Supporting those in need

Thirteen years down the track, all of you who have contributed to this work in some way have enabled 1521 children and their families to gain the care and support they needed in their toughest of times.  Sadly, 146 of those children have passed away, remembered always, and bereavement support is provided to their families.  We are currently supporting 172 families.

Over the last decade, children are now surviving some of the illnesses that would have once taken their lives. This is due to advancement in medical technology and knowledge.  However, while this is great in some aspects, with some children going on to live healthy lives, other children live with such high complex needs, are technology dependent and are totally reliant on their parent’s for every aspect of their care.  This is so challenging and requires a different level of knowledge in how to best care for these children.  I have such respect for those families providing this high level of care.

Community Support

Over the years, we have developed strong connections and partnerships in the community, that we strongly value and appreciate.  For those of you who have joined us along the way and added your touch to the organisation, for those of you who have believed in us… True Colours stands strong today because of you.The Waikato community is one I am proud to be part of.  The generosity, the ‘can do’ attitude, the commitment to supporting each other, the vision and the values of the people doing great things are to be commended.

True Colours Children’s Health Trust continues to provide care and support to children and their families who have serious illnesses or who are grieving.  We can do this because of ‘the thousand sewing needles’ working together to make a difference.  It is important to take time to stop and celebrate, and thank all of you who have walked alongside us over these 13 years!  You are SO important to us.   THANK YOU.

As Danielle La Porte said, what you celebrate expands, let’s keep celebrating and expanding services to children and families who value this support.  Arohanui