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Michelle’s son Nnamdi spent many years in and out of Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital as a child.  Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease, he needed life changing surgery at 13 to have his entire large bowel removed and replaced with a stoma port.  This is a huge operation, with enormous physical and social challenges for children and adults as they adapt to their new normal.”  Michelle has not only been a wonderful supporter of our Annual Street Appeal, but is now also raising money by shaving her hair in support of the New Children’s Hospital and another fantastic local charity.

The journey for myself and my son, at the Wellington Children’s Hospital, began in March 2015. My son was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and went into the care of his specialist, Dr Ross Wilson. Over the course of two years, my son was given all sorts of treatment to manage his illness. At times, it got so severe, he had to miss school. As his mother, it was very hard to see him suffer especially when he missed out on things he loved such as school and playing soccer. 

In June 2017, a decision was made between myself, my son, Dr Wilson and his surgeon, Professor Mark Stringer to remove his large bowel. By then, his condition was getting worse, as his immunity was low and it was effecting his growth. Being at the age of 12, it was wise to perform it sooner rather than later. In August 2017, he had his large bowel removed and he now has a stoma.

Since his operation, Professor Mark Stringer has looked after him. As well as his specialist Dr Ross Wilson. Thanks to them, my son has grown into a healthy young man.

Sadly, in July, when my son turns 16, he leaves the care of them as he transitions from the children’s department to the adult department. Dr Wilson and Professor Mark Stringer have been nothing but supportive, caring and phenomenal with the care of my son. I can never thank them enough.

Over the course of 5 years, my son was in hospital 5 times for various reasons including the operation he had in 2017. During his hospital stays, the nurses, junior doctors, healthcare assistants and play therapists have given my son first class care. Their involvement and care, meant my son’s time in hospital, was more pleasant and helped with his recovery.

Children should not be in hospital. They should enjoy their lives by being kids. Sadly, due to various reasons they need the care of children’s healthcare services. 

In 2017, the decision was made to build a new Children’s Hospital in Newtown. Thanks to the kind donation from Mark Dunajtschik, this was made possible. Now there is a campaign to raise $10 million to equip the interior for furniture, fittings, new medical equipment, a therapeutic gym as well as medical, play and family spaces.

That is why I want to help and give back to the Wellington Children’s Hospital. They went above and beyond for my son, so I want to reciprocate it. Therefore, like with Mary Potter Hospice, once $2000 is raised each, I will shave my head and help put a smile on a child’s face.