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“I celebrate being a mum every day"

“I celebrate being a mum every day"

I celebrate being a mum every day

To mark Mother’s Day, we brought together a mother and daughter who both work at Wellington Free Ambulance, to reflect on their relationship, their work and what they’ve learnt from each other.

Cheryl and Vanessa Redit from Wellington Free Ambulance

Cheryl and Vanessa Redit from Wellington Free Ambulance


Since she was 13 years old, Vanessa has wanted to be a paramedic and help save lives. Following her paramedicine degree at Whitireia, she joined Wellington Free in 2018 as an intern, and now works as a fully qualified paramedic. She is also a preceptor (mentor) with a new graduate.

When Vanessa was in her first year of study at Whitireia, her mother Cheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to endure aggressive treatment. After her first round of chemotherapy, she became very ill and needed a trip to hospital. 

“I got to experience first-hand Vanessa giving a very impressive handover to the ED doctors. I was also the first real patient for her to practice on with injections on a few occasions throughout treatment – very convenient!” says Cheryl.

“It was humbling to be a patient. It’s hard to allow your child to take care of you when you’re so used to taking care of them. I was inspired though, by Vanessa’s empathy, responsibility, and composure.  It was a challenging time, but through all this she still managed to continue with her studies and work part time. “

Vanessa comments, “The way Mum carried herself and stayed so strong through cancer treatment was inspirational. Mum has always kept her sense of humour, and even during this difficult time she remained positive and always tried to make light of her situation. All while continuing to work, be a mum to 3 kids, and run a household – amazing.”

In 2021, Cheryl joined Wellington Free Ambulance, as Executive Assistant for our Head of Ambulance Operations. Her role has since grown to incorporate working as Executive Assistant for our new General Manager Operations as well.

“I’ve always been interested in anything medical,” says Cheryl.  “Wellington Free Ambulance is an iconic organisation that makes a real difference in the community each and every day.  I wanted to be part of that.”

When Vanessa found out that her mother was joining Wellington Free Ambulance, she was delighted. “She did check in with me first and I helped her prepare for the interview,” says Vanessa. “And now it makes my day any time I get to bump into her at work.”

Vanessa describes her mum as kind, caring, generous and always looking out for others. “Mum gives the best advice, and I always feel I can go to her with any problem. She always makes me feel encouraged and supported.”

She says the biggest lesson she has learnt from her mum are the softer skills, the kindness and empathy that she now uses every day in her job.

She has used these skills every day, from the moment she passed her paramedic assessment including delivering her first baby and working through the COVID pandemic – which is not something Vanessa ever thought she’d be signing up for when she started her training!

“Being able to help people and being able to be there for families in some of their hardest times is such a privilege,” says Vanessa.

Cheryl says, “There’s an old saying that ‘life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage’.  This saying always makes me think of Vanessa as I’ve observed her determination, dedication, and perseverance to reach her goals, despite numerous challenges along the way.”

“We won’t be specifically celebrating Mother’s Day – but I celebrate being a mum every day,” says Cheryl.



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