Friend brings joy to family

By Hannah Norton

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Joy Cullen has gone above and beyond the call of duty as a colleague and friend to fellow Kensington Hospital nurse Glenis Kissick.

Glenis' daughter Megan nominated Joy as a local unsung hero for the help she has provided during a difficult time for the Kissick family.

"In December, my 24-year-old sister fell through a [wooden board over a fire escape] in Canada and suffered a severe spinal cord injury," Megan Kissick said.

"She was put into an induced coma for a few days following surgery, and stayed in ICU for nearly three weeks - mum and dad were at her side within around 24 hours of the accident taking place," she said, which meant they were there over Christmas.

Her sister, Alicia returned home as a tetraplegic.


Megan added: "Joy works at Kensington Hospital with my mum and has been an amazing rock and support system for the family.

"She took out a personal loan to get myself and twin sister to Canada to spend Christmas with our family, and has arranged all sorts of fundraising to help us out."

Alicia had travel insurance, which covered her medical costs while she was in Canada and her flights home, but as the accident happened overseas ACC so far has declined all funding.

The costs are piling up for the Kissick family, the conversion of the family bathroom to make it suitable for Alicia to use is in the vicinity of $20,000.

The cost of getting a wheelchair-friendly car capable of transporting Alicia is higher than that - something that Joy has been actively trying to fundraise for.

She recently went about collating prizes to hold a raffle to help fundraise for the Kissick family, only to find out that it is illegal in New Zealand to hold a raffle for an individual.

"She just doesn't stop helping," Megan said. "She's one of those people who just gives so selflessly, and there really is no way we will ever be able to repay her."

Glenis agrees that Joy has truly been an unsung hero for the Whangarei family.

"[She] has been an absolute tower of strength for our entire family throughout the last four months."

"She is such a thoughtful, selfless person, and has kept us going in strength and support, as well as being financially supportive.

"I do not know how we can ever repay her for all she has done and has been to us."

Joy only agreed to appear as a local unsung hero in The Whangarei Report if the bank account details for the Kissick Family Fund was included at the end of the article so people could donate.

"I just really want to stipulate that we all really need to help them," she said.

She quickly denounces the title of 'unsung hero' though.

"It's not just me, everyone's jumped on board. It's really cool to see just how generous people can be."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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