Helping children and young people come to terms with the bereavement process, Auckland mother Nic Russell established the registered charity Kenzie’s Gift in 2008.
The charity provided support, resources and therapy sessions for children, young
people, their caregivers and families affected by grief or a life-threatening illness.
Named after her daughter Kenzie, who died in 2005, aged 2-and-a-half, two Memories
Are Forever kits had been produced in Auckland — It’s all about me! for children aged
5 to 12, and Dear Grief for young people aged 13 to 24.
To help parents and caregivers guide children through the grieving process, and to
support all young people, Greenlight Innovations director Leon Hartnett organised
the donation of 50 Dear Grief kits and up to 30 It’s all about me! kits to the Invercargill
Loss and Grief Centre and Hospice Southland.
Mr Hartnett said he appreciated the help and compassion the centre provided for people who were grieving and was pleased to facilitate the connection.
Although the younger kits had already been in circulation for several years, the Dear Grief kits were recently developed to help older children and young adults, he said.
The younger kits were in a scrapbook format and also had a parents’ guide to assist their children.
‘‘The kit features fun things to do and encourages children to remember the person in their own way, and it also prompts them to express how they are feeling with visual cues and activities.
‘‘The kit for the older children and young people has more text, but was still engaging.’’
Mr Hartnett said his 14-year-old daughter had read a Dear Grief kit and said ‘‘it was good’’ and she could relate to it.
A long-time friend of Mrs Russell, Mr Hartnett met her 15 years ago when they set up
He admired her commitment to continually fundraise for Kenzie’s Gift, he said.
Last month, Mrs Russell (46), who was a cancer survivor and had a degenerative
heart condition and Parkinson’s disease, took on a daily 30-day ocean swim challenge
off Auckland’s North Shore to raise money for Kenzie’s Gift.
As part of promoting the charity and in support of Mrs Russell, Mr Hartnett took on
his own one-day July challenge on Tuesday last week, braving the chilly waters of Foveaux Strait.
‘‘She did a swim every day in June. I wanted to do a swim to show support as well.
‘‘My desire to take the plunge is a sense of friendship and admiration for Nic, and
also to support and hopefully encourage people to support the fundraiser.’’
After emerging from the brisk waters, he described it as ‘‘quite refreshing’’.
The free kits are available from the Loss and Grief Centre, 49 Tay St, Monday, Tuesday
and Friday, 1pm-5pm, Wednesday and Thursday, 9am-1pm, or by phoning 027 443 8788.
Anyone wanting to donate to Kenzie’s Gift can do so at givealittle.co.nz/org/kenzies.