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It’s National Volunteer week and we are incredibly fortunate to have an extraordinary family of more than 450 volunteers, who generously choose to gift their time and talents to help our hospitals every week.  Huge aroha and thanks to them all!  Finally in our series this week, we are delighted to share a little extra volunteer magic….

Finally in our series this week, we are delighted to share a little extra volunteer magic….

Every year we run a series of events for Wellington Children’s Hospital that are wonderfully supported by a creative team of volunteers from Wellington’s Cosplay community.  Every single superhero, storm trooper, princess, fairy-tale or sci-fi character who joins us brings a touch of magic to our events, and an incredible amount of joy and delight to the young (and young-at-heart!) who are lucky enough to interact with them.  We’d love you to meet two of our volunteer super-heroes, Caryl and Lilly.

Nine to five Caryl is a hard working public servant, but after hours she brings out alter ego – Pōhutukaryl Cosplay.  Caryl started volunteering for the children’s hospital many years ago when she was still at university, and is now the true Wonder Woman who co-ordinates all our event Cosplay volunteers.  She tells us, “It’s a joy to not only collect and bring some smiles to the city dressed as characters people don’t usually see on the streets, but it also helps my fellow cosplayers give back to our community with our shared hobby.  Back when I was volunteering within the Children’s Hospital, I regularly saw for myself how much the equipment and comfort items provided by Wellington Hospitals Foundation helped the tamariki and their whānau bravely facing such a tough and scary time, so it means a lot to be able to help fundraise for those items with just a bucket, a costume, and a smile.”

By day Lilly is a mild mannered receptionist, but we also know her as Cinderella, Snow-white or Captain Marvel.  Like Caryl, Lilly’s been a part of the Cosplay community for over 10 years and told us that there were always children excited to see her, which made her think of the less fortunate kids in the children’s hospital.  “Every year the Wellington Street Appeal and Christmas Festivals are blocked out in my calendar – a few hours of holding buckets and interacting with the public does indeed make a huge difference.  If getting dressed up as a princess or a superhero can bring just a moment of fun and put a smile on their faces while children are fighting their own battles, then that’s what I’ll do.”

For the last five years Lilly’s also kindly hosted an annual Christmas picnic for the local Cosplay community to raise funds and gifts for the children’s hospital.  “All of this comes together to fill me with a sense of pride that we, not just myself but the cosplay community, are making a difference and supporting the real heroes, the kids who’re fighting their own battles and the Doctors and Nurses taking care of them.  As the late David Bowie sang, “We can be heroes, just for one day.”   Not all heroes wear capes – some wear scrubs, some wear wigs, some wear PJs, but we can all make an impact.”  Thanks to all our Cosplay volunteers who help make our events so special.

He aha te mea nui o te Ao?  He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world?  It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.   Interested in volunteering with us?  See here for more details.