Family of former patients and staff at Starship children's hospital spent yesterday afternoon laughing and reminiscing about their experiences.
The guests were there to celebrate the Help Our Kids campaign - a joint initiative between the Herald and Starship - which has raised $30,000 more than the target of $150,000 to renew the hospital's operating theatres.
Roberta Leevard, of South Auckland, praised the generosity of New Zealanders and said that without the expert help of Starship, her son Leighton would not be the healthy 4-year-old he is today.
Leighton had a heart procedure after tests showed a blood vessel abnormality. A coil-like object has been placed inside his heart to block the faulty flow of blood.
"I can't repay the surgeons. He's a good kid and I'm lucky to have him," said Miss Leevard.
The family of 14-year-old Claudia Chaney say they, too, will forever be indebted to Starship. The Epsom Girls Grammar student has had more than 300 procedures at the hospital, after suffering complications from a bone marrow transplant as a toddler. Her mother, Lisa Petersen, became emotional when asked about how the hospital had helped them.
"They're family - that's how we see everyone at Starship. When we come in, it's hugs and cuddles," she said.
"The money raised will go towards saving children and that's amazing, because how can you thank someone for saving your child? That's what Starship's done for us."
Starship Foundation chairman Bryan Mogridge said: "We are hugely appreciative of the Herald and its readers for their generous support."
The Help Our Kids campaign has reached $180,137.
MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION HERE
Or make an offline donation by printing off and filling out the form below: