Kaiya’s date with duchess

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Mata­mata 6-year-old Kaiya Miller will wear bright pink shoes and a cheeky smile when she meets the Duchess of Cam­bridge.

Kaiya suf­fers from cys­tic fi­bro­sis (CF) and has been cho­sen to present the duchess with a bunch of flow­ers dur­ing her visit to chil­dren’s hospice Rain­bow Place on Satur­day.

The visit co­in­cides with the an­nual Gal­lagher Chil­dren’s Party and, fol­low­ing a tour of the fa­cil­ity, the duchess will spend time with the chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

‘‘Kaiya has been busy prac­tic­ing her smile,’’ said mum Glenny Bowes.

It is a wel­come dis­trac­tion for the Mata­mata Pri­mary School stu­dent, who has spent about onethird of her life at Waikato Hospi­tal.

‘‘I’m most ex­cited about meet­ing her,’’ said Kaiya. ‘‘I think she’ll be nice and fun.’’

The party has an Alice in Won­der­land Mad Hat­ter theme so older brother Lachie has been roped into hav­ing prac­tice tea par­ties with Kaiya.

‘‘Mum let us put [Lorde’s] Roy­als on and we drank the tea. It was ac­tu­ally just wa­ter though.’’

Kaiya was born eight weeks early with a per­fo­rated bowel and was di­ag­nosed with CF at just a few weeks old.

CF af­fects a num­ber of or­gans in the body – par­tic­u­larly the lungs and pan­creas – by clog­ging them with thick, sticky mu­cus.

It has caused Kaiya to de­velop di­a­betes and also af­fected her abil­ity to digest food, so she is fed al­most ex­clu­sively through a tube in her tummy.

‘‘To look at her face you would just never know that ev­ery cell in her body doesn’t work prop­erly,’’ said Bowes.

‘‘She has a re­ally in­tense day just to be a part of life and it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult for her but she’s an amaz­ing kid and she tries her best at ev­ery­thing.’’

Kaiya’s daily rou­tine in­cludes tak­ing up to 20 dif­fer­ent med­i­ca­tions, phys­io­ther­apy, breath­ing treat­ments and feed­ings.

Rain­bow Place pro­vides specialist care for chil­dren like Kaiya and had been a fan­tas­tic sup­port for the fam­ily, said Bowes.

‘‘We are re­ally, re­ally lucky in re­spect of the team from Waikato Hospi­tal and Rain­bow Place.

‘‘Just the care they put into us . . . they treat us like fam­ily.’’

CF had taken away so much from Kaiya but, through the hard times, had also pre­sented her with some in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties, said Bowes.

Al­ready Kaiya has fea­tured on chil­dren’s show Sticky TV as Kiwi Kid of the Year and was a face of the Count­down Kids Hospi­tal Ap­peal.

‘‘It’s re­ally hard and day-to-day can be pretty dif­fi­cult and we go through things most fam­i­lies don’t ever have to think about, but you can make the most of it you want to,’’ said Bowes.

‘‘It gives you a boost. All the crazy, tough times in our lives are off­set by some re­ally fab­u­lous ex­pe­ri­ences.’’

Kaiya didn’t quite un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of meet­ing the duchess but it would be a valu­able mem­ory for her to look back on, she said.

Flower girl: Kaiya Miller, 6, pic­tured with mum Glenny Bowes, has been selected to present flow­ers to the Duchess of Cam­bridge when she vis­its Hospice Waikato.

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