Te Puea Marae steps up to find cancer teen and family a home

By Solbin Kang

'B''s cousin drowned at Hunua Falls, and then she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Photo / Facebook
'B''s cousin drowned at Hunua Falls, and then she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Photo / Facebook

A teenager who is battling cancer ended up homeless with the rest of her family after moving to Auckland to receive treatment.

A post by Te Puea Marae, in Mangere, on its Facebook page revealed the 16-year-old teenage girl, referred to only as "B" and her family - father, three brothers and her sister - became homeless after moving to Auckland from Hamilton.

After a temporary stay at the marae, the family would be moving into a house on Tuesday, the Facebook post revealed.

After her cousin drowned at Hunua Falls, "B" was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She had a tumour in her lower back.

The Facebook post said, "all went down hill from there".

"When I got told, I didn't think about anything, I just started crying.

"It was hard to take in. The doctors said I needed chemotherapy straight away so it wouldn't spread and that the best place for that was Starship Hospital in Auckland," it said.

The family then moved from Hamilton to live in "B's" aunt's home in Mangere to be closer to Starship Hospital.

"B" was in hospital for a month.

"I wasn't able to swallow, I got infections, I had two massive seizures. I had to have antibiotics and that led to kidney problems so not only do I have cancer, I have kidney problems."

When she left Starship Hospital, "B" went back to her aunt's home.

However, there were 15 people staying the Mangere house and the 16-year-old had to sleep on a mattress in a room she shared with her two younger brothers.

"It wasn't really good because the hospital said I had to wear a mask because I could easily get infected.

"It was nice to be around family, I didn't want to talk about having cancer, we'd talk about my cousin, I miss him."

Her father, who previously worked as a painter in Hamilton, tried to find his family a home.

"He would go to Winz for appointments, he told them about me having cancer, about us.

"They did nothing. He went to Housing NZ, told them. They couldn't find us a house. Too full, they said, too full."

When things at her aunt's "got really tense", the family left and had stayed at the marae since.

"We were stuck at Aunty's. Things got really tense, so we had leave. My Dad heard about what the marae was doing and said 'let's try the marae'."

Although Te Puea Marae was "pretty cool", "B" wished she and her family had a place to call home.

"I hope we get a house. So we can all live again. So my Dad can go back to work. He's a hard worker. My brother wants to get a job. My sister, she likes her school and I want my little brothers to have a home. I feel responsible for all of this."

Te Puea marae board of trustees chair Hurimoana Dennis said finding a home for "B" and her family was a priority.

"That's what we do... we help them find houses."

He said the family had come to the marae on Thursday and by Friday, a Housing New Zealand home in West Auckland was found for them to live.

He said "B" being sick had a huge influence on the short time it took to find a home.

She can't afford to be bouncing around from place to place," he said.

He said the family were "very humble" and "lots of tears" were shed when they found out.

"They are very very happy."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 21 Jan 2017 19:26:06 Processing Time: 543ms