Counting down to fundraiser
Looking at her bright, cheerful face you would never know she had been sick at all.
But seven-year-old Alyssa Orr has had a life-threatening respiratory illness since she was a baby.
In 2015 she had an episode and was in critical care at Southland Hospital after being rushed by ambulance from her hometown in Dipton, and had another episode in May this year after contracting a virus.
Alyssa said she hated the needles and the oxygen tubes, but the staff at hospital were friendly, she played lots of games, and the beef lasagne ‘‘tasted delicious’’.
Her mum Julz said she had been a regular patient since she was a baby. Since the two asthma attacks, Julz said she felt the family had a plan in place so that the incident in 2015, which almost had Alyssa flown to Auckland, would not happen again.
She still plays netball, touch, hockey, jazz dance and some rock climbing, and keeps active like any other child her age.
While she can manage her daily life at home with an inhaler and medication, it was vital for the family to make use of Room 5, also known as the Countdown Room at Southland Hospital, when Alyssa was sick and had to be there for a week.
Southland Hospital clinical nurse manager of pediatrics Marie Irvine said the Countdown Room is a high dependency room with special medical equipment.
New equipment and resources were provided for families by a fundraiser event run by the supermarket. The annual Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal Motorbike and Car Poker Run will this year be held on September 9.
The Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal runs from August 7 to October 29, and raises funds for 11 children’s hospital wards throughout New Zealand, including Southland Hospital.
Irvine said it was ‘‘phenomenal’’ what the fundraiser had done for families at the hospital.
In the past 10 years more than $600,000 was raised.
Kicking off from Countdown Waikiwi carpark, motorbikes and cars will visit five secret checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one. The winner of the event is the participant who makes the best five card poker hand at the end of the run.
In its eleventh year, Countdown Waikiwi is calling for the community to make this year the biggest one yet.
Alyssa Orr, pictured with her mum Julz, keeps active like any child her age, despite a life-threatening respiratory illness.