The parents of a young Kaikohe boy who has a serious bleeding condition are overwhelmed with gratitude after receiving $9000 from a Mid North fundraising golf tournament.
The tournament, held on October 15 at Kaikohe Golf Club, was organised by Rakai Golf, a team of 16 men from the Rawene, Kaikohe, Whangaroa and Okaihau golf clubs.
More than $15,000 was raised during the tournament, which saw 36 teams – a field of 144 players - turn out from all over the Mid North.
The funds were split between two worthy causes, including $5000 for Mend Trust, a Kerikeri-based charity that helps people with disabilities in Asia and Africa access artificial limbs and hearing aids.
Another $9000 was raised for 3-year-old Rewi Rogers, who has a condition called esophageal varices, which are abnormal, enlarged veins in the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat and stomach.
His mum Jamie-Lee Pulham said she and her partner Ngakuru Rogers are "really grateful".
"We're so overwhelmed and really grateful and thankful to our community for considering us.
"We weren't expecting anything, let alone the amount that was fundraised for us."
Pulham, an administrator at Far North District Council, said her son developed the condition when complications arose after blood tests were taken when he was born 10 weeks premature.
He has three esophageal varices at the bottom of his esophagus.
These develop when normal blood flow to the liver becomes blocked, and, to go around the blockages, blood flows into smaller blood vessels.
This can cause the vessels to leak blood or even rupture, resulting in life-threatening bleeding.
"With his condition, there are no physical signs to let us know something is happening," Pulham said.
"It [a bleed] can happen at any time."
In 2020, Rewi underwent surgery to widen his airways.
But in April, he had a major bleed and had to undergo two more operations. Unfortunately, they were both unsuccessful.
In the future, Rewi may have to get a liver transplant, Pulham said.
"We will have to wait until he's older or operate in stages, but there are complications as to whether his body will accept it, and there's the ongoing care he'll need."
Pulham said the funds raised would help with frequent trips to Starship Hospital in Auckland.
Their most recent trip on October 15 ended up costing them $150 just for fuel, and there were also food and parking expenses - all adding up to around $300 per journey.
Pulham, who has three other children aged 14, five, and two, said she also plans to get a heat pump installed "so our home is warm and dry for him and to reduce medical issues that can arise".
"It's a lot for us to deal with," she said.
"I'm the main carer when he's in hospital, so I'm normally alone.
"I reach out to aunties and cousins and my mum to give me that support while I'm in the hospital with him, while my partner takes care of our children at home."
The event initially raised $11,365 from entry fees, sausage sizzles, raffles, auctions and sponsorship.
An anonymous donation of $4000 with specific instructions to koha it to Rewi took the total to $15,365.
Kaikohe Golf Club vice president Wade Fong said everyone involved "had an unreal day and the support was mind-blowing."
He thanked the many supporters and sponsors.
Last year, the tournament was held at Whangaroa Golf Club and raised $4500 for Cancer Society NZ, Fong said.
"We started as a bunch of mates playing golf, and decided to raise money for the Cancer Society.
"We thought, why not do it for local causes this year?
"That's our kaupapa going forward - to raise funds for local causes."
Buchanan, the founder of Mend Trust, said it was a great event and he was chuffed to receive the funds.
"We rely on donors like every charity, and we've been going 30 years.
"They're [Rakai] a great team."
Golf NZ Māori development manager Aroha Tito said the event was "amazing".
"Kaikohe Golf Club brought a lot of good feelings back to the club. It's been a long time coming, to have that many people in the clubhouse.
"The team who organised it did an amazing job... they were awesome."