DHB read­ies for ju­nior doc­tors’ strike

Manawatu Standard - - News - Alex Loo Staff reporter

A high-fly­ing teenager is fundrais­ing for a once-ina-life­time cheer­lead­ing trip to the United States.

Frey­berg High School stu­dent Nicole Costello has been se­lected as a mem­ber of the Bi­gair Cheer­sports team that will rep­re­sent New Zealand at an in­ter­na­tional cheer­lead­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

The Welling­ton-based team will take a two-week trip to Florida to the In­ter­na­tional Cheer­lead­ing Union World Cheer­lead­ing Cham­pi­onships in April.

Nicole was only con­firmed as part of the team in late De­cem­ber, af­ter with­drawals forced Bi­gair to re­cruit new mem­bers.

The 17-year-old needs $6000 to cover her travel, ac­com­mo­da­tion and en­try fees but wants to raise ex­tra money for food and ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘I’ve never left New Zealand, so I’m pretty ex­cited.’’

Nicole comes from a gym­nas­tics back­ground and only took up cheer­lead­ing two years ago. She soon gained a place in Zero Grav­ity Palmer­ston North’s top com­pet­i­tive squad and has de­vel­oped a huge pas­sion for cheer­lead­ing.

‘‘I love ev­ery­thing about it. It’s just fun . . . Gym­nas­tics is much more strict. I had to work pretty hard to get into cheer­lead­ing.’’

Fel­low Zero Grav­ity cheer­leader Abbe¯ Wat­son was also se­lected for the Bi­gair team, so the pair car­pool to Welling­ton twice a week for three-hour train­ing ses­sions.

To raise money, Nicole has been work­ing at her mother’s gym­nas­tics school three evenings a week over the school hol­i­days.

She and her mother Jo Costello have been try­ing to get spon­sor­ship from lo­cal busi­nesses and have cre­ated a Face­book page where peo­ple can donate on­line.

Jo es­ti­mates they have raised about half of the funds they need. They want to col­lect as much as they can be­fore Nicole has to go back to school.

Closer to the com­pe­ti­tion, Nicole will need to train at Bi­gair three times a week, along with bal­anc­ing school and work.

Although she’s ner­vous about the pres­sure, Nicole is con­fi­dent she will man­age her busy sched­ule. Pa­tient ap­point­ments are be­ing post­poned and warn­ing mes­sages sent out by Midcen­tral District Health Board in the leadup to the ju­nior doc­tors’ strike to­mor­row.

As many as 3300 ju­nior doc­tors will walk off the job for 48 hours from 7am to­mor­row, af­ter talks be­tween district health boards and the New Zealand Res­i­dent Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion broke down on Thurs­day. They also plan to strike on Jan­uary 29 and 30.

The union es­ti­mated about 3300 doc­tors would be away from work, while a spokesman for the health boards put the num­ber closer to 2000.

Midcen­tral chief ex­ec­u­tive Kathryn Cook said plan­ning was well un­der way for ser­vices to con­tinue as nor­mally as pos­si­ble.

Palmer­ston North Hospi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment would be open but some ser­vices would be af­fected, she said..

Some pa­tients would have their ap­point­ments changed, and they would be con­tacted about sort­ing an al­ter­na­tive time. Those not con­tacted should go into the hospi­tal as nor­mal for their ap­point­ment or surgery.

Peo­ple with ques­tions can call 0800 764 677.

WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

Nicole Costello is fly­ing high in cheer­lead­ing and is off to the United States to com­pete.

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