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The fear and anxiety she experienced led to her starting the charity One Mother to Another.
The charity provides gift bags to mothers and carers in the Children’s Acute Assessment or Neonatal Intensive Care units at Christchurch Hospital.
Mrs Buckland, who lives in Rolleston, has been recognised for her work with a Westfield Local Heroes award that comes with a $10,000 grant.
Mrs Buckland said she started the charity with her friend Joy Reid in the hopes of putting a smile on the face of a mother or carer in the same position she was.
“It came about because Joy and I had both been in hospital with sick kids and we knew how lonely and isolating that can feel and we wanted to find a way to support other mums who will go through that journey too,” she said.
Mrs Buckland took 18-month-old Arabelle to the GP when she developed what seemed like a stubborn nappy rash.
When the doctor had a look, he told her that the rash looked like it could be meningitis and they needed to go to the hospital immediately.
“My mummy brain just heard the word meningitis and went into an absolute frenzy in my head.”
At the hospital, Arabelle was calm but Mrs Buckland was struggling to cope.
“When we were there she was actually feeling fine, it was me that was a mess. I was crying and I remember thinking I need some support and that’s where the original idea came from.
“I didn’t have any family here. I had friends I could call to look after my toddler but not having that family here, like a lot of people nowadays don’t, it does just make it a lot harder,” she said.
Mrs Buckland said she is honoured to receive the award.
“I feel like I’m just an ordinary mother who is doing something that I would have liked someone to do for me in my hour of need.
“It is surreal to think the community have named me a hero for it but I’m very honoured and grateful for the accolade. It has truly blown me away,” she said.
The charity currently supplies around 130 gift bags per month to the hospital and have produced around 5000 since it began.
One Mother to Another fundraise through the cookbook Eats which features recipes from PM Jacinda Ardern, English food writer Nigella Lawson and television personality Hillary Barry.
• Eats can be purchased from https://www.onemothertoanother.org.nz/cookbook/