12 Days of Christmas: Playground will make hospital easier for kids

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Vanessa Thornton says the new playground will give families visiting children in hospital somewhere to entertain their other children. Photo / Richard Robinson
Vanessa Thornton says the new playground will give families visiting children in hospital somewhere to entertain their other children. Photo / Richard Robinson

Hospitals aren't fun places to be - especially when you're a child waiting for hours as a sibling is getting emergency treatment.

So staff at the Kidz First Children's Hospital in South Auckland are to build a playground, using a $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport.

Kidz First is the third charity to be featured in a Herald series profiling 12 charities around the country given grants by airport this Christmas.

The hospital's clinical head of emergency care, Vanessa Thornton, said the grant meant families coming in with other children could have them cared for just as well as a child who was getting medical treatment.

"It's not just about the sick children, but the children and their entire families. Often these families come in with other young children, and anyone who has children knows how restless they can be," she said.

"The usefulness of this will be that the whole family is being cared for and catered to and not just the child in hospital."

Dr Thornton said that for some families, visiting the hospital was a regular occurrence. Therefore it was vital that the hospital provide an environment which was comfortable for everyone involved.

"We have children with chronic disabilities and other illnesses, which means they're often in here.

"The playground also provides parents already going through an often traumatic time - having a child in hospital - with a bit of help in catering to their other children."

The full $10,000 will go towards building a playground and play area attached to the hospital's emergency care unit.

With up to 25,000 children being cared for at the hospital each year, the playground is likely to cater for thousands of youngsters.

Dr Thornton thanked the Auckland Airport for an initiative that was ultimately giving back to the community.

"It's fantastic that they're willing to provide a chunk of their funding to us," she said.

"We feel really privileged to benefit from this - it really is going to help so many people in our community."

Auckland Airport general manager affairs Charles Spillane said: "We feel very privileged to be able to help 12 organisations that dedicate their time to helping others."

- NZ Herald

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