Kids step up for loved teacher

By Kiri Gillespie


A Katikati woman who spoke out about delays in getting treatment for a hip condition is scheduled for an assessment next month.

Lois Smith featured in the Bay of Plenty Times last month as she struggled to get onto a waiting list to receive treatment for her weakened hip, despite being promised action within six months two years ago.

While she had accepted a lengthy wait for any progress, some of the youngest members of the community had not.

Year 5 children from Katikati Primary School wrote to the paper in support of the 64-year-old, who is a Bible studies teacher at the school.

The Bay of Plenty Times received 14 letters from students, aged 9 to 10, expressing their disappointment a woman they described as "a lovely lady who helps the community" had to wait so long for a new hip. The school gave copies of the letters were given to Ms Smith, who said she was touched by the gesture.

"That's just so special to me," Ms Smith said. "You kind of think you are on your own but then behind the scenes here are these beautiful kids.

I suppose I do look pretty pathetic getting by on the street."

Ms Smith's next appointment with a specialist was not until next year, or so she thought.

"I don't know how it happened but I got a phone call the other day from them [Bay of Plenty District Health Board] saying 'I'm just ringing to confirm your appointment for Friday'."

Ms Smith said didn't know anything about the appointment.

"I wasn't due to go back until April next year."

No paperwork for the revised appointment had been received, so the appointment was rescheduled to July 19.

Ms Smith said it had been a weird but wonderful week.

"I just love what those kids have done, I just feel love from them," she said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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