Local businesses and individuals are being invited to give children with cancer a meaningful gift this Christmas - their very own star in the sky.
The Child Cancer Foundation's (CCF) Stars of Courage programme, which honours a child's bravery throughout their journey with cancer, is encouraging businesses to make a $500 donation to gift a star.
Fundraising and Business Development Manager for CCF, Delwynne Hahunga, says Stars of Courage is a chance to put a sparkle in the lives of children who are undergoing treatment.
"Cancer doesn't take a break over Christmas time. A star is a great way to acknowledge the children's strength and make them feel special over the holidays."
Past recipient Frannie Taylor received a star when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone tumour in her leg. At 10 years-old, she had endured more than five months in hospital, 10 months in a wheelchair, eight months of chemotherapy and six surgeries.
Her mother, Kim Taylor, says that Frannie, who is now 13 years-old, absolutely loves having her own star and still visits the Stardome observatory in Auckland to look at it.
"It is a representation of everything Frannie has gone through. Receiving a Star of Courage made her so happy, so it was really a gift for all of us," says Kim.
Every sponsored child receives the name of their star, its coordinates in the sky and information on its constellation or grouping. They can then visit any observatory in New Zealand and use a telescope to locate their star.
Hahunga says more than 150 children are diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand each year and the Child Cancer Foundation can support up to 900 families at one time.
The Child Cancer Foundation's vision is that every child and their family walking the child cancer journey will never feel alone.
"We aim to reduce the impact of cancer by offering services to ensure children and their families are supported, informed and well cared for on their journey with cancer," says Hahunga.
Businesses can support children like Frannie by making a Stars of Courage donation through the Child Cancer Foundation website www.childcancer.org.nz