Mil­lion dol­lar do­na­tion boost for can­cer ward

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

The world’s most well-known golf caddy has given pa­tients in the Starship chil­dren’s hospi­tal on­col­ogy ward a mil­lion rea­sons to be happy.

Tiger Woods’ caddy Steve Wil­liams pre­sented the Starship Foun­da­tion with $1 mil­lion raised through his char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion, the Steve Wil­liams Foun­da­tion.

The money will go to­wards a $5.5 mil­lion re­vamp of the ward.

While the foun­da­tion has tra­di­tion­ally sup­ported ju­nior golf projects, Mr Wil­liams says one visit to the on­col­ogy ward sealed his and wife Kirsty’s sup­port.

“If ev­ery per­son came in here and spent a day with the kids, it would touch their heart. You can’t help but want to be a part of it.”

He pre­sented the cheque to Os­car Rae, 1, and brother Ethan, 4, who both re­ceived bone mar­row trans­plants at Starship last year.

The broth­ers suf­fered from the rare ge­netic con­di­tion Wiskott-Aldrich syn­drome, which meant they bled eas­ily and suf­fered from eczema.

Mr Wil­liams at­tended guest speak­ing en­gage­ments and held golf days to raise the money, af­ter pledg­ing to raise funds for the foun­da­tion last Oc­to­ber.

“Peo­ple are very gen­er­ous with their money when they know it’s go­ing to a great cause,” he says.

A knee in­jury that has kept Woods off the PGA golf cir­cuit has al­lowed Mr Wil­liams more time to fundraise.

“It cer­tainly helped. In a sense it all worked out,” he says.

Pae­di­atric charge nurse Natalie James says the new fa­cil­ity will al­low the hospi­tal to in­crease the num­ber of beds and mod­ernise their fa­cil­i­ties.

Sep­a­rate rooms for chil­dren who are most sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tion will also be built.

Construction on the new ward be­gins in Novem­ber, with the aim of hav­ing the project fin­ished in April.

Os­car and Ethan’s mum Su­san Rae says the on­col­ogy unit does an amaz­ing job.

“What do you say to peo­ple who give you a chance to watch your chil­dren grow up?”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

In the money: Tiger Woods’ caddy Steve Wil­liams, who raised $1 mil­lion to help up­grade the Starship hosp­tial on­col­ogy ward, with bone mar­row trans­plant pa­tients Ethan Rae, 4 and his brother Os­car, 1.

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