North­land Hos­pi­tal Ap­peal

Northern News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

Twelve-week old Taonga Peita is a very pre­cious child who has a range of med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions.

He spent two and a half weeks in Whangarei Hos­pi­tal’s Spe­cial­ist Care Baby Unit af­ter he was born pre­ma­turely on May 16 and con­tin­ues to rely upon oxy­gen 24/7.

Taonga is the North­land face of the 2017 Count­down Kids Hos­pi­tal Ap­peal.

His mother, Mi­randa Shack­ell, a spe­cial needs co-or­di­na­tor at Whangarei Boys High School, says she and her part­ner had been in­formed there was a high risk that Taonga might have Down Syn­drome.

So it was not a sur­prise when the di­ag­no­sis was con­firmed.

Taonga also had tran­sient myelo­pro­lif­er­a­tive dis­or­der which can some­times lead to myeloid leukaemia dis­or­ders in ba­bies with Down Syn­drome, and he also has a small hole in his heart.

‘‘I felt like I was hit by a bus... you hear leukaemia and you see a cof­fin,’’ says Mi­randa.

Over 7500 chil­dren and ba­bies are ad­mit­ted to one of the four North­land hospitals each year.

Funds raised by the Count­down Kids Hos­pi­tal Ap­peal help North­land District Health Board Ma­ter­nal and Child Health Ser­vices af­ford items on a ‘wish list.’

This year’s Count­down Kids Hos­pi­tal Ap­peal runs from Au­gust 7 – Oc­to­ber 29.

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