DHB readies for junior doctors’ strike
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.
Nicole Costello is flying high in cheerleading and is off to the United States to compete.