Our guest speaker was Nic Russell from the charity Kenzie’s gift.

Nic is from Northern Ireland having arrived some 27 years ago on her OE. In that time she has been married and divorced, had two children and, sadly lost one of those children, her daughter Kenzie at age 2 (and a bit) to cancer. She also managed to contract and survive cancer as well.

During that period she discovered that there is little support for children who are going through the grief that follows the death of a sibling or a parent.

Subsequently she established Kenzie’s gift, a charity focused upon attempting to improve the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people who are affected by serious illness and/or bereavement.

Kenzie’s gift attempts to provide those whose families experience serious illness of bereavement support intended to restore sustain and maintain emotional well-being and good mental health.

Kenzie’s gift has as its ambassador Nigel Latta a well-known clinical psychologist and author.

Kenzie’s gift provides free services to those who need support. The services provided include one-to-one therapy programs resource packs, including a “My Journey Kit” which provides information for children and adults including useful tools resources tips to help families through challenging times.

There is also a “memories are forever” pack which helps children and families through times of bereavement.

Nic told us that since inception Kenzie’s gift has provided over 2000 one-on-one sessions to children and families and provided over 600 nought kits. Told us that about 25% of our population is a 18 and about 6800 people will be affected by the death of someone in their family by that age.

Nick Lotus two videos which show the work that Kenzie’s gift undertakes. Both of which were very moving.

Kenzie’s gift is not supported anyway by the government. Its funding comes from private sources and charitable trusts such as the Lion Foundation, Lotteries NZ and similar.

For more information go to www.kenziesgift.com.