Some much needed summer cheer has brightened the lives of 48 Kiwi kids battling Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
The group were last week hosted at the YMCA's Camp Adair, at Hunua, by the Crohn's and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust. The camp followed a $30,000 Flying Start charity grant from Jetstar.
For Mackye Davies, aged 11 from Pakuranga, the six days of fun - which included archery and other outdoor activities - had been a great tonic.
"Mackye has Crohn's Disease and this was the first time he had met another child with the same illness," his mum Jean Avenell, said. "It was great to see him realise he wasn't alone and it was an invaluable experience."
"He turned 11 on the first day of camp and was given a cake, so it was a great birthday."
Avenell said her son had endured a nightmare past three years and had undergone half a dozen operations.
"He will never be okay but at the moment his disease is in remission," she explained.
"Mackye has been through the mill and the attending the camp has been very positive for him. He didn't want to leave."
New Zealand has the world's highest incidence of IBD. An estimated 20,000 people have it.
Grant Kerr, head of Jetstar New Zealand, said it had been great for the company to be able to assist the camp which made a positive difference for the young IBD sufferers.