Selfless gran wins for family

By Susan Edmunds

Insulation prize to warm home of bereaved children.

Michaela Thrush and baby Elijah, in front of Right House's Sam Light, should have a warmer home. Photo / Doug Sherring
Michaela Thrush and baby Elijah, in front of Right House's Sam Light, should have a warmer home. Photo / Doug Sherring

A woman whose determination to provide for her family after her death touched the hearts of the judges in a Herald on Sunday insulation giveaway did not live long enough to see her prize installed.

The newspaper teamed up with Right House last month to give away five insulation and heat-pump packages to families living in cold, damp homes across New Zealand.

Ngaruawahia grandmother Kohi Nathan's story stood out.

Although battling lung cancer and completely bedridden, her first thought was for her daughter and grandchildren who were to inherit her home after her death.

She wanted it to be warm and comfortable, so she did not have to worry about them.

Nathan died last week. Her caregiver, who had looked after her through years of sickness, said it was a terrible blow to the family. "She was just awesome.

I thought she'd live forever."

The family had asked for installation to be delayed, but the house would be insulated and have a heat pump fitted over the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, Michaela Thrush, from Papakura, had a new family member watching installers at work on Friday: baby Elijah, who is a week old.

Thrush entered the competition when she was heavily pregnant because she was worried about what her extremely cold home would do for his health.

She said the insulation had been installed just in time. Her husband works on the oil rigs in Taranaki and goes back to work tomorrow, leaving her and Elijah at home. A warm house will make the transition easier.

Insulation for the three other winners - musician and director Joe Lonie, self-employed father of four Ed Wi, and North Shore mum of two Abby Eli - will be installed over the coming fortnight. Lonie said it was starting to look a bit like summer at his place "but summer never seems to last too long".

Eli said she had heard another cold snap was on the way, so she was looking forward to the installation. Her youngest son, Noah, 2, has just come home from hospital, where his adenoids were removed.

Wi said the package would make a big difference for his children on chilly mornings.

Right House spokesman Mel Orange said it was an excellent campaign to be a part of.

"It is great to be able to help out the winners and to make their homes more comfortable ... We know from experience how much of a difference insulation and a clean source of heating can make to a home.

"We extend our condolences to Kohi Nathan's family but it is nice to know her family will gain the benefit of the prize."

- Herald on Sunday

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