An early Christmas for sick Bay of Plenty children

BOPDHB staff with Bay of Plenty Countdown staff during a hospital visit earlier this year.

Christmas has come early for children and youth receiving care in Bay of Plenty hospitals.

Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals are some of 21 across New Zealand who will have its wish list come true thanks to the success of the 2018 Countdown’s Kids Hospital Appeal.

The appeal has raised a total of $1.2 million this year which will go towards much needed items, such as new equipment or upgraded facilities for patients.

The hospitals’ wish-lists were made earlier this year and included diabetes monitors and sensory play equipment, incubators and brand new playgrounds.

As part of their wish-list Tauranga Hospital’s Community Adolescent Mental Health Service indicated a desperate need for a therapeutic outdoor space for children and young people.

Mental Health and Addiction Services acting nurse Anja Theron told SunLive in April a safe and inviting outdoor space is a necessary element to the treatment they offer.

 “The Bay of Plenty DHB is over represented in its youth suicide rates and every dollar raised through this appeal is going to contribute towards helping to lower these rates. Our therapeutic spaces are our only equipment.”

Anja says a lot of their clients benefit from moving around in the fresh air as it helps to calm and regulate their mood.

Currently, the space consists of rough concrete and an old wooden picnic bench.

Whakatane Hospital also indicated it is looking to create an outside play area for their young patients.

Their wish is to provide a space that encourages outdoor play and is inviting and practical for the Tamariki and whanau of the ward.

Clinical nurse manager Sharon Powley also spoke to SunLive earlier this year. She says the hospital is hoping to create an area that’s pleasant and has lots of sunshine.

“We have a lovely outdoor grass area, but that’s all it is, grass. Children need to be able to play and go outside.

“Sick children don’t just come by themselves either, they come with family and other siblings, so we want an area that makes all of them feel welcome.”

Both hospitals will now be able to fulfil their wishes, due to the generosity of New Zealanders, who continue to dig deep for children and teens spending time in hospital.

“Countdown, our team members, hospitals, patients and their families are truly grateful for the support we continue to receive,” says Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal Trust chair Ruth Krippner.

“Some of the new equipment we’re able to fund this year will make a critical difference to the lives of children and their families, such as an EEG monitor for Kidz First Children’s Hospital.

“Other facilities, like the upgraded outdoor play and recuperation area for Bay of Plenty District Health Board's two hospitals, will be hugely beneficial for young people in the area who are accessing health services.”

All Countdown stores have got behind the annual appeal, holding events like a group charity walk through Auckland, a head shave in Morrinsville, a famous quiz night in Napier and a competitive car rally in Christchurch.

“It was fantastic to see so many exciting fundraising events led by local Store Managers. Many of our team had never organised events like this before and were rewarded with a lot of public involvement and support.” 

Since the Countdown’s Kids Hospital Appeal was first launched in 2007 a total of $12.8 million has been raised for sick Kiwi kids and teens. 

In the coming weeks, cheque presentations will take place across the country to present the participating hospitals with funds from this year’s appeal.

The Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal ran from August 6 until October 28. For more information on the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal, visit: www.countdown.co.nz/countdownkids


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