Each year a group of staff at Countdown Okara in Whangarei, use money from their own pockets to buy items for the Baton’s Up competition they organise as part of the annual Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal because they know it works and helps provide a large chunk of the final proceeds that get donated to the Northland DHB.
This year the team managed to hit the target well before the three month appeal was up and Countdown Group Manager for the Upper Northland Region, Madison Taylor said that the Okara store had to source raffle books from other stores to keep up with demand.
Nationwide, communities throughout New Zealand supported Countdown to raise $1.2 million from August until the end of October.
The Northland community appeal raised $81,000 and staff from Countdown Okara presented Northland DHB Child Health Services with a cheque on Tuesday in store, with the face of the Northland 2018 Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal Whaiawa Tito and whānau there for the celebration.
Whaiawa lives with type 1 diabetes and her parent's Lisa and Patrick Tito pay for her to use a Freestyle Libre Blood Sugar Sensor to monitor and control her condition.
Patrick also has type 1 diabetes and says that with Whaiawa having diabetes he is aware that he is a role model to his daughter and how he manages his diabetes on a daily basis. He also said it is neat to see Countdown and the community coming together to help Whaiawa and other kids by supporting this appeal.
The $81,000 raised from the Appeal this year will go towards buying a stock of these sensors to loan out to parents who can't afford the device.
The sensor gives parents and children a break from the daily finger pricks required to monitor insulin levels and enables them to do a period of intensive sugar monitoring to try to improve their diabetes control.
Northland DHB Chief Executive Dr Nick Chamberlain said it is amazing to have received almost $800,000 over the last 11 years from the Appeal.
“I’m blown away, they’ve delivered more than we expected. When you walk around our hospitals you see the significant investment into equipment this money has enabled us to purchase which we couldn’t fund. It is a great partnership.”
(Image by Abbey Cameron) From left: Countdown Group Manager for the Upper Northland Region Madison Taylor, Lisa, Patrick and Whaiawa Tito, Northland DHB staff - Clinical Nurse Specialist Diabetes Oringa Barach, Service Manager Neonatal & Child Health Yvonne Hunter and Chief Executive Dr Nick Chamberlain.