Welcome to our new nzherald.co.nz feature, celebrating great Kiwis going the extra distance in lockdown. Do you have a Lockdown Hero? We want to hear heartwarming stories about businesses or individuals going above and beyond to get us through lockdown. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Haggitt knows all too well how tough it is to be in Starship children's hospital with a sick child.
Ward 26B was home for Haggitt for the first six months of her daughter Katie's life while the little girl waited for a liver transplant.
So when Haggitt heard parents of sick kids on the same ward were struggling to get out to buy food and living off toast and tinned pears during lockdown she took action.
Yesterday the mum of three sent six large care boxes to the ward filled with non-perishable food, toiletries, and plenty of treats.
"During level 4 there is only one parent allowed to stay and they can't swap over to have a break," Haggitt said.
"Starship is amazing but staffing is limited at the moment so getting out to have a break or to buy anything is impossible."
Under Covid alert level 4 there were no food deliveries to the hospital and the cafes were closed.
"I was quite upset when I heard parents couldn't get out and I thought we can do something about this."
Haggitt put the call out to her family, neighbours, and her Biliary Atresia/liver transplant New Zealand support group on Facebook and was amazed at the support that came back.
"I was expecting perhaps $200 for enough to fill a banana box but I had $800 in donations, it was amazing," Haggitt said.
"I spent $700 at Pak'nSave and I spent the rest getting everything packed and on an urgent courier so the parents had things straight away."
Haggitt's parents David and Ann Wharton nominated their daughter saying she and her husband Bryan knew first-hand the tough time parents on the ward were going through.
She is today's (very reluctant) NZ Herald Lockdown Hero.
Daughter Katie, now 5, had a liver transplant at five months after a live donation from Haggitt's brother Simon.
"It was a very rough time for all of the family so I know she just wanted to help these parents get through," mum Ann Wharton said.
"We are so proud of her and her brother Simon who volunteered as a live donor for Katie because she was too sick for the waiting list."
Katie has just celebrated five years since her transplant and was "doing really well". She started school last November.
Rebecca and her husband Bryan are at home with Bryan Jnr, 8, Katie, 5, and new baby Amelia, 6 months.
Haggitt's care packages were received with huge thanks from the parents on the ward.
"They have posted their thanks and some photos on our support page which has been really lovely," Haggitt said.
Haggitt said life at Starship with a seriously ill child was hard enough without the restrictions and isolation of lockdown.
"Starship is amazing and I had huge family support with a roster to care for Katie and her older brother who was at home," Haggitt said.
"With lockdown, all of that external support is removed and it is just one parent with the child the whole time."
Children on the ward needed 24-hour care which meant parents could not leave their side.
"I know they have to be there for their child so they stay there and go without. If you have to live off toast for a week you live off toast for a week. It's what you do for your child.
"We have put some essentials in the care packages but also some biscuits and treats to lift their spirits and let them know we are thinking of them."