Act a silver lining
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.
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.