Young Gemma’s mes­sage of hope


Pa­per planes car­ry­ing mes­sages of hope will soon be fly­ing from Porirua to Welling­ton Hospi­tal.

Gemma Lovewell, 10, has started the Pa­per Plane Project, where for ev­ery dol­lar do­nated she makes a pa­per plane with a mes­sage writ­ten on it.

The planes and the money are des­tined for Welling­ton Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal.

Gemma has so far raised $467, with do­na­tions com­ing from as far away as the United States and Hong Kong.

She has a tar­get of $1000 and has set her­self a time limit.

Gemma said she was in­spired af­ter she read about Sadako and the pa­per cranes.

‘‘It’s a way to share hope with other chil­dren,’’ she said.

Sadako and the Thou­sand Pa­per Cranes is a chil­dren’s book about a young girl in Hiroshima.

When Sadako be­came sick from ra­di­a­tion she was in­spired by the Ja­panese leg­end that if some­one made 1000 origami cranes they would be granted a wish.

Her wish was to sur­vive and grow up.

Gemma gave the story a mod­ern twist by swap­ping cranes for planes. ‘‘They’re some­thing fun to play with.’’

She first do­nated to the hos- pital when she was 4 by sell­ing sur­plus veg­eta­bles in her neigh­bour­hood.

When Gemma didn’t want to buy any­thing with the money she had raised, her mother, Robyn Lovewell, let her choose a char­ity to do­nate to.

Lovewell said the hospi­tal staff were so wel­com­ing of Gemma’s do­na­tion it en­cour­aged her to do more.

‘‘The staff made such a fuss she kept on fundraisng,’’ Lovewell said. ‘‘It shows if we take our kids a lit­tle bit se­ri­ously it can make a big dif­fer­ece.’’

Gemma went on to make a pet rock fac­tory to raise money and also wrote a book, giv­ing a por­tion of the profit to the hospi­tal.

Lovewell said she couldn’t be prouder of Gemma’s fundrais­ing ef­forts and hoped they would in­spire other chil­dren.

Gemma’s project has one more week to run and she’s hop­ing peo­ple will do­nate.

Donaters can send their own mes­sage or Gemma and her lit­tle brother Daniel will write them.

‘‘Never give up’’ and ‘‘hold on to your dreams’’ are two of the mes­sages they’ve been send­ing to sick chil­dren.

Gemma Lovewell is fundrais­ing for Welling­ton Hospi­tal by mak­ing pa­per planes.

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