The desire to help one young girl and her family through a difficult time has led to a new community-focused charitable group, "Team Hope".
One of the founders, Jono Erwood, says "hope" stands for helping our people endure, and that the group is looking forward to being able to make a difference to the lives of members of the community through a variety of ways.
The idea started when the group of friends agreed they would like to do something "nice" for Renee Eagar, a student at Toko School who was born with a hypothalamic hamartoma. This rare, benign brain tumour led to Renee undergoing surgery at Starship Hospital. While three-quarters of the tumour was successfully removed, a quarter remains attached. Renee spent over 6 weeks in hospital followed by a month at a rehabilitation centre in Auckland.
Renee enjoys school, which she attends with her twin sister Hollie, but needs extra help and the group decided they would like to provide some learning aids for her to use at school, along with contributing towards her ongoing rehabilitation needs and the travel required for her regular hospital visits.
The group decided to raise funds at the putting green at a local golf tournament and expected "a few hundred dollars", says Jono. The organisers of the golf day, Central Tyres and Automotive and Cooks Honda, decided to donate all the money raised - $2300.
Kim Waite, the principal of Toko School, and also a member of Team Hope, says the school decided to hold a cake sale at its annual grandparents day. "All the parents baked, and the children sold the baking on the day to their grandparents, raising $610."
Kim says that Team Hope is about "helping make a difference in a real way", and that it is inspiring seeing how people in the community can be so generous. "We started by helping Renee, and will continue to support her and her family, as well as looking to see how we can help other people in need in our community."
The group would like to thank John Dazley from CMK and Kelly Marriner from Parker Marriner for assistance in setting up the charitable trust, as well as all the people who have made donations or contributed in other ways.