"It was closure for all of us," Annie Rudolph said after her family, and two others from the Far North, travelled to Auckland to cook dinner for the families staying at Auckland City Hospital's Ronald Donald House.
Recent Ronald McDonald House families Richard, Erica and Rihari Manuel (who lost 6-year-old Santina), Jo, Glenn and Trent Buckingham (Georgia), Annie, Vince, Holly, Lateisha, Jayden, TePuhi and Sally Rudolph (Te Amohaere — TA) wanted to say thank you to the staff and all involved in the house for all the support they provided the families when they needed it.
"It's an amazing organisation with amazing people in support," Mrs Rudolph said, "and I would like to acknowledge all those who helped make our cook a success — Marty and Bridget Harvey (Herekino), Roger (Windy) Windleborne, Kaitaia Pak'nSave, Bell's Produce, John and Birdie Pereira, who made our bread and fried bread and bread.
"Richard and Erica Manuel, with the help of their whanau, provided all the kaimoana, and last but by no means least the Moko Foundation, for providing transport and gift packs for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House, Basil and Mary Rudolph, John and Lorrinda Pereira, and our rangatahi Ezekiel, Sonja, Alamaine and Rawhiti, through the Moko Foundation."
Lance and Tracy O'Sullivan were unable to be there due to prior commitments, but Yvette Parlour and Deidre Otene, from the Moko Foundation, helped make the 'Far North Flavour' cook a success, she added.
And what a success it was. The families cooked for 160, starting with a seafood entree (mussel and tuatua fritters, paua in cream, battered and raw fish, kina and fried bread), followed by spaghetti bolognese, salad and chips, then cheesecake, chocolate and velvet cake and icecream.
"It was a pleasure to work alongside each and everyone of you," Mrs Rudolph added.
"We would also like to acknowledge Sid Nathan, his late wife Tui Spicer Nathan (who lost their son Ricky) and whanau. You were all with us at the RMH.
"From Vince, myself and our whanau, thank you all for the support and love. To TA, Georgia, Santina and Ricky, we love and miss you every day. Until we meet again ... xxxx."
Vince Rudolph said it had been "beautiful" to be back in the house, some of whose staff had been there when Te Amohaere first underwent treatment in Auckland in 2003.
"Now we're ready for 2018," he added, with their beloved daughter and sister still a part of their lives.
"We are very proud that she chose us as her parents."