Tauranga beauty queen banks big bucks for charity

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Mount Maunganui medical student Kristy Toy. Photo / Supplied
Mount Maunganui medical student Kristy Toy. Photo / Supplied

She's got brains and beauty - now Mount Maunganui medical student Kristy Toy has added a fair dollop of fundraising flair to her portfolio.

The 23-year-old, in her final year of medical school at the University of Auckland, will line up in this weekend's Miss World New Zealand pageant after winning the Miss Waikato title late last year.

Since then, she's juggled studies and surgical practice with a demanding pageant schedule, which included running a recent charity auction in Tauranga.

Miss World New Zealand contestants committed to raising $30,000 to build a basketball court for Ronald McDonald House in Auckland, so officials at the charity were stunned when Kristy handed over a cheque for $16,020 from her auction.

"Kristy singlehandedly came up with half of this target - $16,000 from one event is an amazing effort and incredibly significant, and really shows the dedication Kristy put towards her fundraising," Ronald McDonald House spokesperson Holly Sheehan said.

"She used her networks to source some really amazing prizes and put together a fabulous auction evening, making sure the room was filled of people she knew would be really excited to bid on her prizes."

Ronald McDonald House, which supports families during their children's medical journeys, is a cause particularly close to Kristy's heart and she was delighted to be able to make a difference.

"My medical studies have taught me how to treat and fix physical ailments but a really important part of healing is having that support of whanau and friends around you," Kristy explained.

"That's particularly important in paediatric care so to be able to help Ronald McDonald House support the families of sick kids is really special for me."

The former Mount Maunganui College student used her personal and other local contacts to collect a range of auction items, from rounds of golf and Toyota vehicle leasing to framed photographic prints and signed sports apparel.

Local auctioneer Frank Vosper did the rest, emptying wallets and purses in an entertaining evening hosted by Pacific Toyota.

"I'm proud to be part of such a giving community," Kristy added.

"Entering Miss World New Zealand has been a huge eye-opener, seeing all the unsung heroes at work doing good deeds for others, and it's left me feeling inspired."

Kristy, who is currently on practicum at Tauranga Hospital in the medical department, is following in solid footsteps - last year's national winner Deborah Lambie graduated as a doctor on the day she left to represent New Zealand in Miss World, where she finished 15th.

She now works in the general surgery ward at Wellington Hospital.

Miss World New Zealand 2016 will be held at Sky City in Auckland on Saturday night, with 12 regional finalists.

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