As she prepares to fundraise for Daffodil Day, Jo Buckingham remembers her spirited, energetic daughter Georgia, who died aged 16, of acute myeloid cancer two years ago. Her diagnosis had been confirmed on Christmas Eve, 2014.
"Georgia was so cool, and she was a fighter," Mrs Buckingham said. "She fought the terrible disease admirably every day for two years. Some days you wouldn't even know she was sick."
Over those two years Georgia had a bone marrow transplant, and twice went into remission twice. In 2016, the cancer returned a third, and ultimately final time, and the teenager decided she wouldn't have any more treatment.
"She decided it was time to go home, and she passed away in her sleep," her mother said.
A senior personal banker at ANZ Kaitaia, Mrs Buckingham is a long-time supporter of the Cancer Society, ANZ's official charity partner, and has actively fundraised for Daffodil Day since she began working at the bank in 2011, never thinking that her family would one day be recipients of the charity's support.
"The Cancer Society supported us in so many ways. We received practical help like petrol vouchers and grocery vouchers, and I will always be grateful for what they did for us," she said.
"Fundraising for the Cancer Society is extremely important to me, now more than ever. When it's impacted you personally you do what you can to help. They supported us in so many ways, and we still keep in touch."
ANZ chief executive David Hisco met Mrs Buckingham in 2014, a few weeks after Georgia's diagnosis.
"When I first met Jo I told her I would wear my daffodil for her and her daughter," he said.
"Not long after Georgia's passing Jo sent me a letter thanking the wider bank for supporting the Cancer Society. She said her family were grateful for everything the charity and her ANZ colleagues did for them, going out of their way to make hard times more bearable."
He had been so moved by the letter that he asked her permission to share it with the more than 8000 ANZ people across New Zealand.
"No parent wants to see their child, or anyone close to them, suffer, but unfortunately many do.
"It's hard to believe, but one in three New Zealanders are impacted by cancer in some way, and that's why Daffodil Day is important to all of us at ANZ," he added.
"It's heartening to see our people across New Zealand putting in extra effort to fundraise for Daffodil Day and doing what they can to support families like Jo's through incredibly difficult times."
To support the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day appeal, text 'hope' to 336 to make a $3 donation, donate online, make a contribution at any ANZ branch, or give to a street collector on Friday.