In a one­sie, to keep the am­bu­lance free


Irene Thoma­son’s eyes light up when she re­calls the laugh­ing gas she was given in the am­bu­lance.

The 92-year-old is smil­ing in her bright blue mon­ster one­sie, but still car­ries a cane from a fall she had in April.

Thoma­son was get­ting ready for a Poly­ne­sian-themed din­ner at her re­tire­ment vil­lage, Sum­mer­set at Aotea in Porirua, when she fell, break­ing her pelvis.

‘‘I just turned around too quickly and once I started to go I couldn’t stop.’’

She man­aged to get into a chair, which is where fel­low res­i­dent and friend, Nonie O’Neil, found her a short time later.

Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance was there in a hurry, and bun­dled Thoma­son off to Welling­ton Hospi­tal.

The laugh­ing gas made her bliss­fully light-headed on the jour­ney to hospi­tal, but she faced a long wait for a bed. Am­bu­lance staff stayed with her and helped her pass the time.

She spent six weeks re­cov­er­ing at Kenepuru Hospi­tal in Porirua and still can’t turn over in bed.

But she had noth­ing but praise for the am­bu­lance staff – and the team at Kenepuru – for the care and at­ten­tion they gave her.

She will be among more than a dozen res­i­dents, and hun­dreds of Welling­to­ni­ans, who will don a one­sie on Fri­day in aid of the free service.

Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance was aim­ing to beat last year’s to­tal of $160,000 for One­sie Day this year, the char­ity’s largest an­nual ap­peal.

‘‘We cur­rently have 90 busi­nesses on board and 101 schools tak­ing part as well as the an­nual street ap­peal,’’ am­bu­lance spokes­woman Sarah Coulthard said.

Aotea at Sum­mer­set will host its an­nual fundrais­ing lunch. It’s raised al­most $15,000 for Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance.

‘‘They’re here an aw­ful lot and they take such good care of us. Some­times they’re here twice a day,’’ O’Neil said.

Mau­rice Paulsen, 91, chimed in from un­der the hood of his di­nosaur one­sie: ‘‘We’ve got to do some­thing for the free am­bu­lance. It won’t be long till we need it our­selves.’’


From left, Nonie O’Neil, 74, Irene Thoma­son, 92, and Mau­rice Paulsen, 91, of Sum­mer­set at Aotea in one­sies in aid of Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance.

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