Nelson Connect Group

Providing an incredible network of support for families impacted by childhood cancer in the Nelson region.

Childhood cancer can be an isolating experience for whānau when others don’t fully understand what they’re going through. To support them through this challenge, Child Cancer Foundation has 21 Connect Groups across Aotearoa which create a social network and a sense of community between families.

Each Connect Group is run by volunteer parents and caregivers of children with cancer, who are dedicated to giving other families a space to find comfort in shared experience and mutual understanding. They host social events throughout the year for mums, dads and siblings, giving them a chance to enjoy some respite and have a bit of fun.

Today we would like to highlight the Nelson Connect Group, who regularly organise fantastic events for families impacted by childhood cancer in their region. Megan Stephens, the Nelson Connect Group Lead, has been part of the group for about four years. “I’ve always been very involved on the kindergarten and play-centre committees,” she says. “When [my daughter] Gabby first got sick I had to give those up and focus on her. So it was a natural progression to give back to Child Cancer Foundation once her initial treatment had finished.”

Over the last couple of years, Megan and the Connect Group Committee have organised many fantastic events for families in the Nelson region, including a winery tour and a quad bikes adventure for mums, an archery outing for dads, a mid-winter dinner for parents and morning teas for caregivers. For whole families to enjoy together, they have also organised movie nights, tenpin bowling, a wildlife park visit and a night at the basketball.

For Megan, the highlight of the Nelson Connect Group’s calendar is always their annual Christmas party. In 2020, these celebrations had to be simplified to ensure families could be safe in a COVID-19 environment, but Megan says it still gave families a wonderful chance to connect and relax together at a busy time of year.

But ultimately, it’s the feeling of being surrounded by people who can relate to your experience that makes the Connect Group so special for Megan and many others around her. “I always feel you can have unfiltered conversations that you can’t necessarily have with friends who don’t understand the many complexities and emotions that come with having a sick child,” she says.

“It is such a unique opportunity to connect with others in a similar situation to you. There just seems to be an unspoken acknowledgement that you have a shared connection.”

Please join us today

Connection between families living with childhood cancer ensure they don’t feel isolated during an extremely difficult time.

Please donate today so we can provide more families with opportunities to build a support network in their local community.