Home' Greymouth Star : November 18th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 5
ania Bugler’s life
changed forever when,
pregnant with third
son Cooper, she went
for a routine 20-week
She was told at the
hospital that he was the
“right size”, but she just knew something
was wrong. Her midwife broke the news
the next day — her baby had a congenital
“I was really good at hiding how I was
feeling. But inside I was so scared, I was
scared I wouldn’t get to meet him. The
unknown was the hardest.
“There are no words to describe the fear of
losing a child.”
Cooper was first operated on at six and
a half months. Now, you can’t even see the
scar on the six-year-old. He looks a picture
of health. In reality, he has regular check-
ups and will need more heart surgery.
Until that scan, Tania’s life was fairly
normal. A former Greymouth High School
student, her first full-time job was at
Shannon’s Plumbing, in Hokitika, then at
MG Marketing, in Greymouth.
Along came Kade, now 11, and Corbin,
eight. Then Cooper was born and suddenly
Tania found herself sitting in the foetal
heart unit a very long way from home.
Someone told her, “you are going to do
great things because of this kid”.
“I thought, ‘how can having a child with a
serious illness be good?’”
In March 2010, still in the throes of
nappies and strollers, Tania got a call out of
the blue asking her to become the family
support worker for Heart Children on the
West Coast. She agreed, and a healing
process began. She could not change
Cooper’s condition, but she could help
When Cooper had surgery Tania was only
off the Coast for 10 days, and had family
support while away, while other families are
gone for months and have no support.
Her world changed again two years ago,
when Corbin was diagnosed with ADHD
and high functioning autism. That, she says,
has been a steep learning cur ve.
Simple tasks, like dropping the children
off at school, are far harder in the Buglers’
“It ’s very intensive.”
During tough times, Tania’s parents have
been there to help: “Mum and dad were
lifesavers. They were our rock.”
But other families do not have that
support on their doorstep. Through the
Heart Children charity she could offer
support to isolated families.
Heart Children became West Coast @
Heart, then Heart Kids. She took a break
from the organisation in June, and the next
day she won the Kiwi Bank Volunteer of
the Year Award.
Since then she has started her own trust,
Rainbow Kids, which aims to help West
Coast sick children and their families, no
matter what their condition. That way,
people should stop falling through the
cracks, she said.
Ronald McDonald House offers free
accommodation, but families still need to
buy food and pay the bills while away.
Applications for Rainbow Kids open next
“ You always think it will never happen to
you,” she said.
The amazing thing is, four years ago Tania
was not this person. For a start, she was shy.
“I still am shy, however I have learned
to climb out of my comfort zone to help
others in need. Six years ago I would have
been sitting in trackpants, hair in a pony
tail, and wouldn’t want to answer the door.
I never thought I would be doing this, let
alone starting my own trust.”
The trust is in good hands, as Tania has
become a fundraising wonder. She has no
idea how much she has helped raise, but her
first event was the inaugural Heart Stopper
challenge (sitting in a bath of ice-cold
water) at the Greymouth aquatic centre.
Other fundraisers include a masquerade
ball at Shantytown, the Harry Foster
‘Onesie Run’ for the Dobson teenage cancer
patient, and more recently a Mad Hatters
Ball in Hokitika, the best to date.
There was also the big Seaside Showdown
boxing extravaganza, although she stresses
that the Paroa Hotel did all the legwork
for that one. She prefers to raise money via
“I don’t have time to sit on raffle tables,”
Besides fundraising and her busy home
life, Tania is also office manager at the
family business, Dispatch and Garlick.
But things have taken a toll. There have
been two hospital admissions lately and she
needs to slow down, for her children’s sake
as well as her own.
When someone is in need, though, she
just finds it hard to say ‘no’.
“Being admitted to hospital was a wake-
She has now learned to delegate, and
is forcing herself to take a break for the
Recently, Tania was visiting Starship
Hospital with a friend, when the sound of
the heart monitor and the hospital smell
brought it all flooding back.
“ Waiting in Starship (six years ago)
and seeing a 12-year-old with no hair, or
someone with a machine hooked to them,
it changes you as a person.”
But it also shows how far she has come.
With a big smile she talks about her
oldest, Kaden. “He was the perfect baby.
He’s a very loving person, and he’s taken on
Perhaps mum has been a big influence?
“I do it because of the kids and my
husband,” she smiles.
Six years ago Tania Bugler was a very different person. But then her youngest son Cooper was born with heart problems and Tania’s world
was turned upside down. She told LAURA MILLS why she devoted her all to charity, and why she is now taking a break from fundraising.
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