The mother of a 3-year-old boy with severe clubfoot is overwhelmed by the generosity of the community after her son received a new pair of winter pyjamas as part of an appeal.
Gideon Fe'ao is one of hundreds of children who have benefited from the "Jammies in June" appeal at Kidz First Children's Hospital in Otahuhu, which aims to decrease the high rates of preventable illnesses by providing kids in need with pyjamas during winter.
Laura Fe'ao, Gideon's mother, says the donation is a blessing as her son is recovering from an operation and has recently outgrown his last pair.
On average, 317 children are admitted to Kidz First every January, with that number increasing to 700 in August. Players from the Vodafone Warriors, including Shaun Johnson and Sam Rapira, showed up in pyjamas to support the appeal.
Johnson says he loves doing anything he can to bring joy to kids in need and help the community.
"It puts everything in perspective and makes us appreciate things."
Marlene Stratton, service manager for Kidz First, says Jammies in June aims to help prevent respiratory illnesses by keeping children's chests warm during chilly winter nights.
"The appeal will help sick children admitted to Kidz First, or seen by the paediatric emergency care unit or community health teams, who are in need. Sadly, for some South Auckland families pyjamas are seen as luxury items.
"Often these children are living in overcrowded, cold and damp homes, with little or no heating or warm blankets. By providing pyjamas, we believe it keeps children warmer during winter nights and can help prevent chest infections and children being readmitted to hospitals."
Jammies in June has donated pyjamas to 1000 New Zealanders, and is aiming to give away another 4000 by the end of the month.
Robyn Maria, a team leader at Kidz First, says many families are "stunned" with the support they have received from strangers.
She says as well as being given to young patients at Kidz First, pyjamas can also be given to children admitted to other hospitals in emergency situations when there is no time to bring in a packed bag.
For information on how to donate, visit middlemorefoundation.org.nz.