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As we prepare for our Street Appeal for Te Wao Nui Regional Children’s Hospital this Saturday, we had the privilege of speaking with Nicole about her gorgeous wee superhero, Zara, who at the age of 4, has become all too familiar with life at the children’s hospital.

“Our daughter Zara is a wee superstar that unfortunately knows hospital life too well. She started life with a short stay in the NICU and came home happy and healthy. By 6 months we started to notice some changes in Zara’s behaviour and growth which began a medical journey we didn’t see coming. She needed to be fully tube fed and we also had to learn how to monitor her blood sugar and ketone levels as she often went hypoglycaemic.

Over the years she went from the NG to a mic-key button (feeding tubes that go directly in to her stomach), then a NJ (that goes directly into her intestines) due to volume issues. After two attempts with GJ tubes she went back to the NJ. She currently needs to be connected 18 hours a day, but along with her portacath which gives her direct IV access with “just one jabby jab”, she is thriving.

With all of the above mixed in with winter bugs that always hit her harder, she has spent a lot of time in hospital. We stopped counting a long time ago how many finger pricks, blood tests, IV lines, admissions and general anaesthetics she has had to have!

Due to difficulties placing tubes and being unable to fast Zara spends time as an inpatient at Te Wao Nui Children’s Hospital at least every 3 months to head off to surgery. Although she would much rather be at dance, gym, kindy or home. Luckily the beautiful new children’s hospital and all the wonderful staff make her time as an inpatient that bit easier.

The building itself brings a sense of calm as we know each stay we have our own space. It’s the distractions like her own TV with kid’s channels and playing eye spy with the objects on the windows that help bring her stress levels back down. Ahhh and the staff, well I think the best reflection of how amazing they all are is that Zara can’t decide just yet between being a children’s nurse or doctor when she grows up. She just wants to be like the people that help make her body better. Please support kids like Zara by making a donation, it is so appreciated!”

Please say hi when you see Zara with her Mum and Dad out collecting for the children’s hospital this Saturday, or DONATE TODAY to our Digital Bucket HERE. We wish Zara and her family all the very best