Martine Rolls: Someone should step in


A child is dying and there is not much more we can do other than offer our support. I have never met Sativa Eagle's family, but I have followed them on Facebook for quite some time now, and our paper has published many stories about this brave little girl.

We published another story about her on our website on Friday, and it's been one of the best-read stories all week.

But unfortunately, it's a sad one.

Sativa, who turned 2 only a few weeks ago, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was just 4 months old.

A bone marrow transplant brought hope, but unfortunately the cancer has come back with a vengeance and her parents have been told to prepare for the worst.

Some of the comments made on the story we posted made my toes curl. As commenting on can be done reasonably anonymously, some people took the liberty to carry on about things.

It was great to see that once again, followers who were more considerate were quick to set things straight.

The family does not need this kind of nonsense at a time like this.

Yesterday I saw a clip of a Campbell Live broadcast that dealt with the impact of poverty. It showed the difference between lunchboxes at a decile 10 and a decile 1 school.

It can be found at the TV3 website, but has been doing the rounds on Facebook, too.

A camera crew visits two primary schools in central Auckland, without giving any notice in advance. They ask the Year 6 kids to leave their lunchboxes on the table so they can film what's in them.

For a parent, this footage is incredibly hard to watch.

There is a poll on our website that asks if all decile 1 schools should provide free breakfasts. I initially answered that I wasn't sure, but after seeing the video, I've made up my mind. I had no idea how serious this problem actually is.

I think that if the parents can't feed those poor kids, then someone should step in.

My boys always have a drink bottle and a full lunchbox with them when they go to school, and I know that they sometimes share their lunch with kids that are less fortunate. I have never asked them to do so, but somehow they know it's the right thing to do.

I live in a pretty rough neighbourhood and sometimes I see little ones as young as 2 or 3 unsupervised out on the street. When I go up to them and ask where their mummy is, I've been told by neighbours that I shouldn't make it my business. Well I'm sorry, but I can't help it.

Thank God for happy, healthy children.

I am far from the perfect mother. I yell at my children when they are making too much noise, have little patience when I'm tired, and I could definitely spend more time playing with them and helping them learn.

But there are some things that they will never go without - first of all the basics. They have a roof over their heads, comfortable beds to sleep in, nutritious food on the table and in their lunchboxes, and they get lots of love, cuddles and encouragement.

A story like Sativa's just confirms how lucky I am. My boys are in Australia at the moment, on holiday with their dad. Even now, missing them leaves me with a hollow feeling, and they'll be back next week. The thought of losing them for good is too hard to bear.

Stories about child poverty and neglect make me realise how lucky they are and how this society could do so much more to protect the little ones.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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