Long time, no update. As a charity we have made some strides, however. We are continuing our provision of tote bags, newsletters, brochures and lip salve to new patients at Auckland Hospital. We regret that this is only a pilot scheme in Auckland right now but we are a beginning charity and want to figure out how to help people in the most effective way possible.
We have two tiers. The first tier involves giving inexpensive or sponsored items to all the many patients who go through the Auckland/Northland multidisciplinary meetings and the second tier is to provide ‘difficult to afford’ items to people who need them. So far we have donated 10 blenders to Auckland Hospital for patients who struggle to eat solid food. (I have been through five blenders since surgery in 2014 meant that I could no longer eat normally. I have been able to buy my own but there are some families for whom the sudden diagnosis of head and neck cancer and all the expense it involves is just too much.)
The point of both these tiers is to help people both psychologically and financially. We are VERY grateful to regular donors and people who have been so generous on Givealittle.
The big Northland/Auckland region has more than half the head and neck cancer patients in New Zealand as it covers Cape Reinga to Drury and beyond but we hope to extend our mission to other HNC centres like Waikato, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Of course we provide peer support to people from all over New Zealand and beyond via our Facebook group. I think this is ONE of our most valuable functions. An important thing in my view is knowing you are not alone when head and neck cancer knocks you and your family for six.
Our board members are spread out from Whangarei to Cambridge and we find our most productive meetings are those when we meet for planning days at Domain Lodge. The February meeting was fruitful and at our next planning day in early May, we hope to build on this early progress!