On the first day of spring the sun came out, and so did the crowds setting the scene for a stunning afternoon of football with the Wellington Phoenix taking on a Central League select team.

But for one Kapiti Coast United (KCU) player and her family the event was more than just a pre-season game at Weka Park, Raumati Beach.

It was the opportunity for the Harvey family to receive support from their football family and wider community with donations from the gate being given to help support them while daughter Loren Harvey receives cancer treatment at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital.

Loren Harvey at Starship Hospital.
Loren Harvey at Starship Hospital.

"To find out you are part of a bigger family with such good friends wanting to help pick you up is incredible," the family said to Kāpiti News.


"As parents it moves you to tears to be part of a day with so much love and community support for what we thought was quite a private battle."

The family has been part of the club for the last five years, and has been highly involved, from coaching and playing to being on the committee.

Just after Loren's 12th birthday her parents noticed she was bruising a bit quicker than usual when she was knocked and after a number of trips to hospital, seeing specialists and going to countless appointments Loren was diagnosed with Monosomy 7.

This was another blow for the family after Loren previously spent six months in Starship battling leukaemia at the age of four, especially as Monosomy 7 is a gene defect resulting from those early rounds of chemotherapy.

With the whole family involved in the club, the Phoenix game was the ideal opportunity for the club to give back to the dedicated KCU family.

"One of the junior committee members approached the management committee to see whether we could use this year's Phoenix game to raise some funds to help the family with the costs associated with travelling up to Starship each week," said committee member Sharon Bannerman-Cooper, who coordinated the Phoenix game.

"We agreed this would be a great way for the club to give back to one of our families that gives so much to us."

After playing for KCU for the last four years Loren is currently in Starship and is only allowed to leave for an hour a day as the treatment has wiped out her immune system.


At the game Loren's mother Mary was there to accept the $6284 raised, along with Loren's brother and sister and her grandparents who have arrived from the UK to help out.

Loren's parents Antony and Mary take turns staying with her while the other one stays in Kāpiti looking after Loren's brother and sister.

"To have been part of a football club for the past five years has allowed a family to do what they love each week — play football, make good friends and have lots of fun," the family said.

"When a bump in the road comes along, it doesn't define you, it tests you and strengthens you."

Loren is expected to remain in Auckland until late September or early October.

She then faces a long road to recover her strength and weight she has lost before she starts at Kāpiti College in January.

Throughout the journey Loren hasn't stopped smiling and can't wait to be back home," her family said.

"She can't wait to pull on the famous blue and yellow, to run around with her sister and the rest of the girls on the team.

"A heartfelt thank you from one family to another."

At time of writing the total raised for the family is now $6703.