When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it can feel like your whole word is torn apart. Reporter Kelly Makiha talks to a Tauranga family about their journey that was made just that little bit easier thanks to Rotorua's generosity and the Ronald McDonald family retreats at Ngongotahā.
Innocence Henry was just 14 when she went to the doctor complaining of a hard lump on her middle toe.
Her mum, Rebecca, thought it a little strange that her daughter was sent for two x-rays but didn't question the doctors.
"I just thought it was an abscess or something and it would just pop."
But three days before Christmas in 2020, she and her husband, Harry, were at work when a doctor called with the news that it was a tumour.
"We were told to leave work, go home and get to Starship (Children's Hospital) that night or the next morning to start treatment."
Innocence was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones mainly affecting 12 to 25-year-olds.
The months that followed were hard as Innocence battled 14 rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries and constant trips to Auckland from their Tauranga home.
Rebecca, who has seven children, including three adult children, still had three other children at home to care for with Henry - including Ocean, 17, Hone, 13, and Cyprus, 10.
Rebecca said she was so grateful for her and Henry's large tight-knit family, who all pulled together to help make things work.
There were also several others who dropped everything to raise money for the family to help boost their funds while they took time off work to care for Innocence.
One such fundraiser, called the Mauao-A-Thon, saw $14,000 raised from participants who climbed up and down Mauao as many times as they could.
"I come from a humble family and I felt so embarrassed taking people's offers but it helped us so much."
One of the biggest blessings was when they spotted a pamphlet at Starship Children's Hospital for the Ronald McDonald family retreats in Rotorua.
Rebecca said the family put in their application to holiday there, and by September 2021, not long after Innocence had been given the all-clear, the family was on their way to spend a blissful six nights together as a family.
The retreats are funded through the annual Supper Club dinner events in Rotorua.
For families like the Henrys, the retreats provide occasions that can glue families back together.
Rebecca said she felt bad that her other children had to take a backseat as they had no choice but to focus all their energy and strength on Innocence.
But having six nights at the retreat brought them back together as a unit.
She said their stay came with a booklet of vouchers for several tourist attractions around Rotorua that either gave them free or heavily discounted entries.
"They are such beautiful homes and we hadn't done anything together for such a long time. It was a godsend. It brought us all back to ground zero and back together again."
Meanwhile, as Innocence and her family try to get back to normality, they look forward to Innocence turning 16 in August.
"She is beautiful and she's getting her energy back. I really want to do something special for her birthday this year because of everything she has been through."
What is Supper Club?
When 400 people sit down to a dinner on Wednesday night this week as part of Supper Club, it's not just about having a great night out with friends.
Wednesday's Supper Club event hopes to raise at least $100,000 which will go towards the upkeep and ongoing maintenance of the two retreats used by families of very sick children.
Supper Club involves 50 tables of eight pre-sold to members of the public. Each table goes in the draw to find out where in the city they will be hosted for dinner.
Everyone meets at the Novotel Rotorua for drinks first and an auction is held before the table draw is made. Ticket holders then head to their newly discovered dinner destinations to enjoy their night, with all food and drink donated by the venues.
Among the auction prizes is a luxury South Island trip donated by HelloWorld Rotorua Travel. A raffle for a new Kia Sportage donated by Ebbett Rotorua will also be drawn.