Bella Lane knows her Nana Jude would be proud she's helping Taranaki people tackle the disease that sadly took her life.
Nine-year-old Bella's "Nana Jude", Judith Blundell, died in July at just 56, after a 12-year journey with cancer. Bella visited her nana receiving chemotherapy treatment at Taranaki Base Hospital.
"Over the last couple of years, my nana and I have been doing Pink Ribbon breakfasts. This year we decided to do a high tea and fundraise money for Chairs for Chemo," says Bella, from Inglewood.
"This was very dear to us. Not only has Nana sat in those chairs, but many of our other family members have."
In mid-October, Bella organised scones, mini cupcakes, brownies and sandwiches, tea and juice for 22 friends and family in Inglewood, sending out invitations in her nana's honour.
"Unfortunately, Nana Jude couldn't be with us."
The gesture touched the hearts of many – even some who didn't attend the high tea – with Bella raising $1397 for Chairs for Chemo.
"Nana would have been proud of me."
Julie Gillespie and Jenny Bunn, who are behind the Chairs for Chemo fundraiser, were moved by Bella's efforts.
"Bella has done an amazing job. There are not many 9-year-olds who know how to raise $1400," Jenny says.
Julie and Jenny, who both have received chemotherapy treatment at Taranaki's oncology unit, are working towards raising $50,000 to purchase six new specialist chairs for the unit, to be used by other patients having chemotherapy.
"During the last 15 years, 32,000 bottoms have sat on the chairs. It's very busy in the chemo ward. The new chairs we are fundraising for will be the most up-to-date technology," Jenny says.
"The new chairs will make the nurses' lives so much easier. They can manipulate them into whatever position a patient needs to be in," says Julie.
The women decided to fundraise for the chairs to give something back to the people of Taranaki for the support they have received during their own cancer treatment.
"It's quite a big journey and a lot of people support us and so we thought, how can we support other people? In consultation with the oncology ward, a few ideas were bandied around, and this was the one that we could help the most people," Jenny says.
"Everybody will benefit," says Julie. "After all, when it comes to cancer, we all know somebody, who knows somebody."
Claudia Matthews, Taranaki DHB Oncology Ward clinical nurse manager, said the team were extremely grateful for the "fantastic fundraising effort".
"It will make a real difference to our patients, and the staff working hard to make patients as comfortable as possible when receiving their cancer treatment."
To join Bella and help Jenny and Julie raise the $50,000 needed for six new oncology chairs, go to their Givealittle page : www.givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/chairs-for-chemo-taranaki