After beating the odds herself, Emmeline Lattin has raised $870 for Starship Children’s Hospital to help other New Zealand children get vital medical treatment.
Emmeline, 13, has had ongoing care at Starship since a life-threatening tumour was discovered in her knee when she was seven years old.
“This particular type of tumour doesn’t usually metastasise, but hers did,” her mother Rhiannon said.
“They found it in a lymph node in her groin, which meant she had to have abdominal surgery and multiple surgeries on her knee.”
Emmeline spent about two months at the Auckland hospital and is now awaiting further surgery to lengthen her leg.
“The tumour was attached to the growth plates and ligaments in her knee, so they had to do a very extensive and very unusual reconstruction and now they need to lengthen her tibia,” Rhiannon said.
“The predicted success rate was for limited movement but she just defied all expectations. She’s done amazingly well and has recovered to the point where she’s even back playing sport.”
So when Emmeline heard Starship had launched a fundraising campaign to expand its Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), she wanted to help.
“There are 1.5 million children in New Zealand, with Starship being the only dedicated children’s hospital in New Zealand, and at the moment they only have 22 beds in the PICU area,” she said.
An innovation challenge at Cambridge Middle School, where she is in year 8, gave her the chance.
She developed a slideshow for her teacher, pitching various fundraising ideas, and eventually met with principal Daryl Gibbs.
“Together we came up with the idea of Onesie Wednesday, where you could wear your onesie to school for a gold coin donation,” she said.
Emmeline promoted the day on Facebook and was blown away by the support she received from students and staff, who gave nearly $900.
“I felt really proud of actually doing something for Starship, given that they’ve done lots for me in the past few years,” she said.
“I think it’s a really, really nice place and the kids that get sick yes, that’s unlucky, but they’re lucky to be able to go to a nice hospital where all the nurses are really nice to them and treat them well.”
Teacher Jacira de Hoog said Emmeline had demonstrated her school’s HERO values – happiness, excellence, relationships and opportunities.
“This is exactly what we like to see at our school where students take the initiative and tirelessly work for the benefit of others,” she said.
Donations to Starship Children’s Hospital can be made at www.starshipicu.org.nz.