Support from Dannevirke businesses and the community has helped bring a happy ending to what has been a tough year for a Dannevirke family.
Paula Erskine launched a personal campaign to raise money for an extendable bed for Dannevirke Community Hospital and was amazed at the level of public support she received, raising more than $13,000.
Paula launched the campaign after her husband Brian spent several days in the hospital.
She said the care he received was outstanding but it became apparent that hospital beds did not cater for taller people, and this impacted on Brian's comfort.
"He never complained that the bed was uncomfortable. It was just that he would slip down in the bed and didn't have the strength to hoist himself back up so we had to help him.
"We started a conversation when Brian said the hospital could do with some larger beds and the idea grew from there."
Sadly, Brian passed away on June 27 and after a family discussion, Paula said it was decided to invite donations from those attending Brian's funeral to go into the hospital's comfort fund toward the cost of a hospital bed suitable for people over 1.8m (6ft) tall.
"I thought I could run a small raffle to add to the funds and I started canvassing local businesses for donations."
Paula said the response was overwhelming.
"I was absolutely blown away."
Goods and money poured in and in the end, Paula was able to offer six raffle prizes.
And the community generosity didn't end there.
"I had people giving me $200 and saying 'I don't want any raffle tickets'."
In the end, Paula raised a total of $13,165.
Among the donations was $5000 from the Dannevirke Men's Health Group, which was raised from a car show held in November to promote men's health.
Dannevirke Pharmacy also donated $1000.
This enabled the Tararua Health Group to not only buy two beds but also to buy hospital-grade Laz-Z-Boy chairs and $200 worth of petrol vouchers.
"I contacted Laz-Z-Boy to ask about the chairs and they offered such a good discount that we were able to buy three. The chairs are in production but won't be arriving until February."
The beds are top-of-the-line Howard Wright M10 models and arrived around two weeks ago.
Paula describes them as the Hilton of beds. They have pre-set function buttons which are within easy reach of the patient, full electric and lockable functions, a low height of 340mm, under-bed lighting and most importantly, an integrated bed extension. The bed looks to be of normal size but has a pull-out extension at the foot.
The beds will have a small plaque attached that says Donated by the Erskine Family with support of local businesses.
Raising money for the project was a positive move for Paula.
"Something good came out of a horrible year. Brian would be so happy that something positive came out of what we all went through."