“Georgia was so cool, and she was a fighter,” Mrs Buckingham says. “She fought the terrible disease admirably every day for two years - some days you wouldn’t even know she was sick.”
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 started working for the bank in 2011.
She never thought her family would 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.
“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 I will always be grateful - we still keep in touch.”
Mrs Buckingham’s boss and ANZ chief executive David Hisco met her 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 Georgia,” Mr Hisco says.
“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.”
Mr Hisco says he was so moved by his staff member’s letter he asked her permission to share it with the more than 8,000 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.
“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.”