E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all. I’m delighted to be back in the Waikato and to catch up with some of the developments happening here.
E Kingi nga mihi nui ki a koe, te Pou Herenga o Waikato DHB. I also acknowledge: David Bennett MP; Gordon Chesterman, Deputy Mayor; and Pru Etcheverry, LBC CEO; Pene Milne, Deputy Chair of the Board - tēnā koutou katoa.
As Patron of Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, I’m pleased to see New Zealand’s 4th largest city getting a dedicated facility of this sort to help people in this region and in the Bay of Plenty. So thank you for inviting me to officially open the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand Support Services Midland Regional Office.
I’m equally pleased to hear that the Office is already up and running and already making a big difference. I’m sure the support services coordinator, and her clients, appreciate having this space to come to: for information and advice; to network; and to share their experiences with others who are going through the often lengthy and invasive treatments for leukaemia, blood cancers and blood conditions.
Effective responses to illness more often than not extend beyond the medical treatment of physical symptoms.
People going through a medical crisis oft times need to draw on inner strength - emotional, cultural and spiritual. They need to draw on all resources at their disposal if they are to deal with difficult news and long term treatment. As Winston Churchill once said “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”.
Given that there are over 10,000 New Zealanders living with leukaemia and blood cancer, and they in turn have whanau and care-givers whose lives are also affected: there is clearly a need for the kind of support – the manākitanga – that LBC gives to help people in difficult times.
Having someone on hand who can answer questions about treatment and prognosis, who can advocate for a patient or their family, and to assure people that they are not isolated and facing their illness alone must be of tremendous relief.
There are many people in the community who understand this. The enthusiastic public response to the Shave for a Cure campaign shows that people in the community are becoming more aware of these conditions, and are prepared to get behind LBC’s work.
And given that there is still much to learn about what causes leukaemia and blood cancers, it’s great to see LBC’s support for the research programme at Auckland University.
All in all, thank you for the great work you are doing. I congratulate the Board, the management and the DHB for securing these new premises. I wish everyone involved in LBC all the very best.
It now gives me great pleasure to officially open the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand Support Services Midland Regional Office.