MEDIA RELEASES

Fundraising shopping bags a Northland first

Six-year-old Elijah Wynyard-Palmer was the proudest kid in his local Countdown supermarket this week, when he walked in to see his signed artwork featuring on new shopping bags which are being sold for the first time as part of the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal.

The reusable bags are a Northland idea and a new, local dimension to the national campaign, which raises funds for dedicated children’s hospitals and wards throughout New Zealand.

An initial run of 1000 of the new bags has been printed and distributed to Countdown supermarkets around Northland, where they are being sold for $5 each, with every bag sold adding to the total raised for the benefit of Northland kids.

Elijah, from Tikipunga, was admitted to Whangarei Hospital with viral meningitis in August this year and had an intravenous drip in his arm when he created his artwork, a vibrant representation of himself in a garden. “He had major antibiotics pumping through him,” mum Katherine recalls.

After five days in children’s Ward 2, Elijah was discharged and has gone on to play Rippa Rugby for the first time this year.

However, that didn’t end the family’s involvement with Whangarei Hospital: on the day that Elijah was discharged, big sister Summer (aged nine) was admitted to hospital and has since returned for a series of tests to identify the reasons for recurring headaches.

Katherine has a lasting appreciation for the staff and the playroom in Ward 2, the children’s ward at Whangarei Hospital. “The ladies there are just fantastic – you couldn’t do hospital without them – and the playroom takes the kids’ minds off the reasons why they are there.”

Over the past seven years, the Countdown Kids appeal has raised a total of almost $500,000 in Northland, allowing vital equipment to be bought for child health and maternity. Major purchases have included an incubator and an ultrasound scanner for the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Whangarei Hospital, an EEG machine and a hoist for the Child Health Centre and monitoring equipment for Ward 2.

Other items have included comfortable chairs so parents can sleep by their child’s bedside in hospital, equipment for the maternity unit and videoconferencing equipment which allows patients to ‘meet’ with their paediatrician from Kaitaia, reducing the need to travel to Whangarei for appointments.

“This year, our wish-list includes heat tables for SCBU that keep newborn babies warm, a video laryngoscope that allows paediatricians to watch on a monitor while a tube is inserted into a baby’s throat, and AIRVO machines that help small children to breathe, enabling them to be nursed in the children’s ward rather than intensive care,” says Jeanette Anderson, service manager for Maternal & Child Services at Northland DHB.

The bags are available in Countdown supermarkets in Whangarei (Tikipunga, Regent and Okara), Dargaville, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Paihia and Waitangi, Silverdale and Warkworth.

For more information about the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal go to http://www.countdown.co.nz/in-the-community/in-the-communitycountdown-kids-hospital-appeal

 

Tikipunga siblings Summer (aged 9) and Elijah (aged 6) Wynyard Palmer, with Elijah's original painting and the finished shopping bag, now available in Countdown stores Northland-wide.




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