Editorial: Unfair slur on Sativa's parents

By Keri Welham

1 comment


There must be nothing more frightening than to find out your child has a life-threatening illness.

When that child is just 19 months old and waiting for a bone marrow transplant, the stress and fear must be suffocating, excruciating.

The parents of Sativa Eagle obviously have amazing friends who have rallied around to help ease the strain of the big question mark over Sativa's health. Undoubtedly feeling helpless, those friends have turned to fundraising. Modest amounts have been raised - $600 from a headshave earlier this month - and the family has drawn on this money in emergencies.

Donated money covered the rent one week when Sativa was desperately ill.

From the generosity of some to the mean-spiritedness of others.

Someone posted an anonymous attack on a Facebook page set up to support the family. The attack appears to be an act of cowardice and cruelty, coming as it did just two weeks after three separate occasions when medical staff warned Sativa's parents their daughter was about to die. Thankfully Sativa survived her latest scare, but her parents have now had to endure taunts alleging a spending spree with money intended to help the family cope in the face of Sativa's illness.

This is the part about charity that a lot of recipients struggle with. People donate $20 to a headshave appeal and suddenly they feel ownership over every purchase that family makes.

It is painful to read Sativa's mother accounting for her partner's new golf clubs and clothes and her re-inked tattoo.

Anyone who has endured loss - which must surely be all of us - knows you do not spend every waking second paralysed with agony. A day after losing someone whom you loved so much you could barely breathe when they died, you suddenly find yourself smiling about your loved one's favourite jumper. The next day you may again be speechless, stricken, gasping for breath.

Even when you are in the depths of despair - as the parents of a sick child must be - there will be moments when you can function and some sense of normalcy takes hold.

When a huge and unimaginable reality is lurking at the door, is it totally unreasonable to think you might lose yourself in the search for a new set of golf clubs or prioritise the need to get your baby's name re-inked into your skin?

Of course there have been cases where recipients of community generosity have spent the money on renovations, rather than their children, and it's okay to ask the question of where the money goes. It's awkward and it's poor timing, but if this person smearing the name of Sativa's parents had concerns, it was okay for him or her to ask the question. But he or she should have had the guts to ask those questions directly and privately of the parents, to quietly seek out explanation, rather than sully an online forum for a little girl who remains gravely ill.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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