A Horowhenua grandmother who stepped in and took over the full-time care of her sick baby grandson after he was removed from his parents will now be able to keep her house.
The home was threatened with foreclosure after mortgage arrears incurred while Annie* spent months at hospital with the baby, who has undergone major heart surgeries and other complications.
The Horowhenua Chronicle has agreed not to name the woman or baby to protect their privacy. The family has had traumatic circumstances, the grandmother says, including the parents being methamphetamine addicts.
Annie's ex-husband was also pursing a relationship property settlement, further threatening her ownership of the home she has lived in for nearly three decades.
After a story drew national attention to the situation, an outpouring of support and donations from both the local community and throughout the country has eased the burden for Annie.
She said she is overwhelmed with gratitude to all who have offered their help.
The story also resulted in Kapiti-based mortgage and financial advisor Orange Network contacting her. Owner Richard Banks and advisor Johnny Graham made a free, comprehensive review of Annie's situation, and arranged refinancing with a new lender, allowing her to keep the house.
Her existing lender, Cooperative Bank, granted an extra four months' grace on payment - after being contacted by the Chronicle but said there was little more it could do.
Orange Network also put her in touch with more comprehensive legal advice, as it was thought the previous advice was substandard.
Annie said she could not thank people enough. She said Graham and Banks were "amazing".
"A huge thanks for the love and prayers we've received," she said. "People saying just to stick in there - it's just been amazing.
"I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. The thought that there are people out there who genuinely love and care, it's what's kept me going."
Donations dropped at the Chronicle, included nappies, grocery vouchers, a teddy bear and two handmade quilts by the Town and Country Quilters group of Levin - adult-sized one for Annie and a smaller one for the baby.
The gifts would be treasured, Annie said.
Money donated to a special account had paid her utility bills, including high power costs for a heat pump she has to use continuously to ensure the baby stayed at a stable temperature.
Despite the baby being back in hospital with stomach complications due to his feeding tube - which Annie uses to feed him a special formula every three hours around the clock - she said she felt she could now look ahead with some positivity for the first time in a long while.
The news she could keep her home felt like a huge burden had been lifted.
"I used to love gardening, but haven't been able to bring myself to do it for months because of [the threat of losing] the house," Annie said. "But today I went outside and planted two little strawberry plants."
(*Name changed to protect identity.)