Just hours before receiving the Supreme Award at the Trustpower Nelson Tasman Community Awards last night, Rebecca Malthus was in hospital with contractions suggesting her overdue baby was on the way.
But it was a false alarm, and she managed to take the stage to receive a standing ovation for her work in the community.
"I am so shocked, I can't believe it," said Malthus as she accepted the award.
Along with her partner, Adam Hicks, she founded the charity Project Butterfly after the couple tragically lost their 14-month-old son Mac when he became tangled in a blind cord in 2012.
Project Butterfly supports parents who have lost a child by providing them with art, workshops, food banks, counselling and introductions to other parents going through the same tragedy.
The organisation has also fundraised extensively to finance a pathway in Fairfield Park where mourning parents can engrave their child's name into a paver, providing them with a peaceful place to grieve that isn't a graveyard.
The awards saw the charity presented with a trophy, certificate and a $1500 contribution to its work in the community.
"There is no formal support for this kind of tragedy in the region," said Trustpower community relations representative Jessica Somerville. "People often fall through the gaps as they try to adjust to normal life."
Malthus and Hicks will fly to Wellington on an all expenses paid trip next March to represent the Nelson region at the national awards. The charity will be up against the 24 best community groups in the country.
"We can't wait for them to share their story at the 2014 Trustpower national community awards," said Somerville.
Project Butterfly will spend the grand prize money on furthering the pathway and improving art programmes, said Malthus.
- The Nelson Mail
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