Count­ing down to fundraiser

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - RE­BECCA MOORE

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.

RE­BECCA MOORE/STUFF

Alyssa Orr, pic­tured with her mum Julz, keeps ac­tive like any child her age, de­spite a life-threat­en­ing re­s­pi­ra­tory ill­ness.

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