Welcome to the SmileDial New Zealand Incorporated Newsletter issue one. This newsletter will be sent to all of our registered members and also our supporters once a month and is to provide a summary of what has been going on, how we have used donations, who we have supported and some random behind the scenes stories from the SmileDial HQ.

March has come and gone very quickly but we held some events and met some people that were highlights of not just March but my entire time as the CEO of SmileDial. We do awesome stuff all the time but every now and again I have moments where I have get to look back at something and go wow, that was awesome. Three things stand out amongst all the others, the Breaking The Boundaries Events, presenting to the Canterbury District Health Board Executives and spending time with a SmileDial granddad.

On the 19th of March I was the first parent to a child with special needs (that received their special needs due to a hospital mistake) to address a health board. An opportunity to put a face to the name or statistic of not only my family but the many other SmileDial families who have faced similar journeys. As an outcome I have asked for the following procedures to be put in place, better communication between the hospital and parents, clearer reports on the incidents (not medical jargon) and all parents to be presented with information on support networks not affiliated with the hospital. I will continue to work with the CDHB to ensure these policies are put into place and I will then request the same from every Health Board in New Zealand, I would like to name this the Lucia document after my daughter.

A few days after the CDHB meeting I spent the day with a SmileDial grandad who had flown to Christchurch to be with his family. His young grandson was facing some epic challenges and the outlook was not looking good. Luckily his grandson pulled through and although not out of the woods he is back on track and the initial fears for his survival have diminished. Spending a day with the boys granddad bought my feet back to solid ground after my meeting with the CDHB, back to the reality of who SmileDial supports and how important our work is. Last year we lost nine SmileDial kids, the reality of what families face is often very real when I meet our families. What a privilege it is to be invited into peoples most private moments to share their joy and grief.

I wonder if the people who could help us with financial donations would be more forthcoming if they also had the opportunity to meet the amazing families and kids I do on a daily basis. You will often hear me say, “We are not playing tiddly winks” to my team, the reality of some of our families is beyond the comprehension of those people who do not have the privilege of being invited into these families lives.

Thank you to all of you for sharing your journeys with me, my team and all the SmileDial family.

Kelly Boy Dugan
SmileDial CEO & Founder

Sign up for the newsletter