Doctors, nurses and supermarket staff shared something in common yesterday when they got together for the annual Countdown Kids' Hospital Appeal.
The appeal, which helps to raise money for much-needed medical equipment for 10 children's wards across the country, kicked off in Tauranga's Hospital for the Bay of Plenty area.
From hosting cake stalls to raffles, Countdown and Tauranga Hospital staff will pull together to raise money for the event.
Tauranga Hospital's BOPDHB medical director Dr Hugh Lees said the appeal had become an important event for the hospital.
"It enables us to buy those value-added things that allows us to give that extra special care to paediatric patients."
Dr Lees said the Tauranga hospital had a limited budget and paediatrics had to share.
"So this [annual appeal] provides us with a source of funds where we can get the equipment ... without having to compete with other departments in the hospital which also have big needs."
Dr Lees said this was the only organised fundraising event for paediatrics and encouraged the Tauranga community to get behind the cause and show support.
A portable Welch Allen cardiac monitor was one of the pieces of equipment, for bedside recordings of patients, that the hospital received last year, he said.
"It allows us to easily and quickly get the blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and oxygen levels, which improves the efficiently of our work.
"Taking readings in children is not easy and in the old days you had a thermometer under your tongue and a nurse counted your heart rate and now you can just use this and everything comes up on the monitor. It cuts down on time and gives you more accurate readings," he said.
BOPDHB paediatrician Dr Roslyn Selby said since the drive began running in 2007, Countdown had raised $486,679 for the Bay of Plenty region.
"That's phenomenal and it has primarily been used for medical equipment shared across the hospitals in the region."
Countdown store manager Tanya Lawrence said the appeal was a way to involve Countdown in the community.
The appeal started yesterday, would run until October 31, and is Countdown's largest community initiative each year.