Act a sil­ver lin­ing

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

THE gen­eros­ity of an Auck­land day­care cen­tre has ‘‘ im­pacted on the hearts’’ of a Tau­ranga cou­ple whose lives were turned up­side down by a freak surf­ing ac­ci­dent.

Kitesurfer Amanda Lowry was left tetraplegic five months ago af­ter div­ing into a sand­bar and break­ing her neck.

The 41-year-old mother has no move­ment from the chest down and limited use of her hands.

The in­ci­dent was a dev­as­tat­ing blow for Ms Lowry and her part­ner of 11 years, Gemma Hol­royd, who were on top of the world af­ter wel­com­ing baby Ziggy into their fam­ily just a week ear­lier.

The cou­ple also has a 4-year-old daugh­ter named Lola.

The whole fam­ily moved from Tau­ranga to Auck­land while Ms Lowry was re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal’s spinal unit.

Ms Hol­royd de­cided to place Lola into day­care to bring some nor­mal­ity into her dis­rupted life.

‘‘It was hard try­ing to find some­where that would take her on short no­tice and for an un­cer­tain length of time, be­cause we weren’t sure how long Amanda would be in the spinal unit,’’ she says.

‘‘We went to three dif­fer­ent kindys, but when we walked in to Step­ping Stones it was like ev­ery­thing in my world was OK.’’

Step­ping Stones Day­care in Mt Eden wel­comed the fam­ily with open arms and let Lola start two days later.

‘‘For any kindy to be able to do that, and just be so sup­port­ive, is fan­tas­tic. It just gave me the op­por­tu­nity to go back and forth to the hos­pi­tal and sup­port Amanda,’’ Ms Hol­royd says.

The Tau­ranga woman says the wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated by Step­ping Stones was a huge re­as­sur­ance dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

Ms Lowry was ready to go home af­ter 12 weeks and staff at the day­care farewelled the women with a bot­tle of bub­bly and the re­turn of all the fees they had paid.

Now the day­care has gone the ex­tra mile and is or­gan­is­ing a wine and cheese fundraiser at Nosh Mt Eden on July 26.

A spokes­woman says the cen­tre has been touched by the fam­ily.

‘‘We shared their ups and downs, laugh­ter and tears but we were al­ways in awe of how they kept them­selves pos­i­tive and fo­cused on the im­por­tance of fam­ily and cel­e­brated the lit­tle mo­ments that are so pre­cious with their daugh­ters and in turn us.’’

Pro­ceeds from the fundraiser will go to the GALZ Trust to help the fam­ily.

‘‘It means I won’t have to go back to work and I can stay here and look af­ter the kids and sup­port Amanda.

‘‘It gives us the op­por­tu­nity to be fam­ily,’’ Ms Hol­royd says.

The money will also help the cou­ple re­build a home to ac­com­mo­date Ms Lowry’s wheel­chair.

There will be com­pli­men­tary wine dur­ing the evening and guest speaker Jenene Crossan is giv­ing away a $20 Flossie voucher to each per­son who buys a ticket. There will also be an auc­tion.

Photo: JOHN BORREN/BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

Wel­com­ing ges­ture: Amanda Lowry, left, and Gemma Hol­royd with their chil­dren Lola and Ziggy. Both are grate­ful for the kind­ness they have been shown since Ms Lowry’s ac­ci­dent.

Visit cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video from At­ti­tude about Amanda’s re­cov­ery.

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