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Thank you for helping keep Waikato families together Countdown

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Imagine having to leave your hometown and whānau for months to deliver your premature baby for their best chance at life.

This happened to one year old Bowie’s mum and why he, held by one of his grandad’s, is the face of this year’s Waikato Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal that will help keep family/whānau together and not apart.

To do this our Waikato Child and Youth Health Service, Waikids Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) needs $93,360 to purchase their wish list of:

Two Giraffe Warmers

Two portable monitors

Two infant cradles.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Appeal has raised more than $12.8 million for children’s hospitals across New Zealand since it began. Last year Waikids was awarded $90,000 for specialist equipment to support children living with Diabetes.

Waikato Hospital’s Children’s Service manager Christine Woolerton, said, "Thank you so much Countdown and those who shop there for helping us to keep Waikato families together with this lifesaving equipment for NICU babies.

"Your generosity and support means so much to our team and our families and we know you can do it again.

"NICU is bursting at the seams this winter," she states.

"Sometimes we need to send families to other NICUs across the country when we get stretched. A situation Bowie’s mum had to face," she said.

Bowie’s mum was a NICU baby many years ago, but for Bowie he was unable to be delivered here.

"We had many conversations with his mum as to why Bowie needed to be delivered safely elsewhere, but this was devastating to her because she trusted us.

"The thought for her delivering away from home to another NICU was really frightening," says Christine, and it was a complicated and difficult pregnancy.

To help turn this around for other families, the best alternative for NICU is turn window space into bed space.

"We have beds for the current space of 41, but not extra beds for when we get stretched. We can’t suddenly make these window spaces for premature babies because we do not have the equipment," she says.

Paediatric specialist Dr Phil Weston says, "For families with premature babies it’s a very long journey, wrought with complexities and setbacks, especially for the very premature.

"When we are at capacity, we have an arrangement with other NICUs (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin) to help us with premature deliveries that have time to safety travel.

"We don’t like it; they (the family) don’t like it. It’s an awful conversation to have. But it’s the safest and best option for the mother and baby when we’re over capacity.

"The things required to make this better, is more capacity and more beds," says Dr Weston.

"The population is growing; we need to push beyond our normal supply. To do this we need both staffing (for which we’ll look to the DHB to support) and extra equipment which we need Countdown’s help with."

From all of us at the Waikato DHB, thank you Countdown for helping to try and keep mums, grandparents like Bowie’s, parents, unties and uncles in the Waikato region together when a premature baby is born - Kotahitanga / Stronger Together.

More about the Countdown Kids Appeal and how you can help

This year’s Appeal runs from 5 August to 27 October 2019.

100% of funds raised are donated our hospitals wish list for a giraffe warmer, portable monitors and infant cradles for our NICU.

Visit any Countdown supermarket and donate at the checkout

Buy a raffle ticket in-store - there’s lots of great prizes

Get involved in local store fundraising activities including knitting

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