Lucy Lawless has urged New Zealanders to get behind the Help Our Kids campaign to help raise funds for the Starship Children's Hospital. The actor, who is an ambassador for the hospital, says: "We have a massive push for an upgrade so please help us and get to helpourkids.co.nz and donate because you know every penny of your money at Starship is very well spent."
The Help Our Kids campaign aims to raise $150,000 to help fund a new operating theatre and new surgical equipment for the hospital.
The actor and Herald columnist is an ambassador for the hospital and also sits on the Starship Foundation Board of Trustees.
In a video message sent from the US, Lawless says Starship has around 120,000 patient visits a year, and 9000 of those children need to be operated on.
"Twenty-two years ago when the operating theatres were outfitted, they were up-to-the-minute and state-of-the-art. But of course medical and surgical procedures have moved on quite a bit since then and the operating theatres are a bit tired.
"We have a massive push for an upgrade so please help us and get to helpourkids.co.nz and donate because you know every penny of your money at Starship is very well spent."
Lawless has been huge driving force for Starship campaigns over the years and has done everything from working in a bakery and waiting tables to painting a life size fibreglass horse and singing swing classics to help raise funds.
Joining Lawless in appealing to New Zealanders is Starship Foundation Chief Executive Brad Clark.
"The Starship operating rooms are in desperate need of an upgrade so we can do a better job for our young patients and their families," he says. "With help from The New Zealand Herald, and you, we can provide a better environment for our world-class surgical teams to work their magic.
"On average a child every hour is treated in Starship operating rooms and they're counting on us to get the job done. And we need your help. Please give generously to the Help our kids' appeal. Every little bit helps."
The Help Our Kids campaign aims to raise $150,000 to help fund vital equipment for a new operating room at the hospital and the refurbishment of four existing operating rooms.
FAQ about the Campaign
Q. What is Help Our Kids?
A. Help Our Kids is a Herald campaign that aims to raise funds for Starship.
Q. What is Starship?
A. Starship is the national children's hospital. It is situated in Auckland and serves children and adolescents from the Auckland region as well as providing many services, such as cardiac surgery, for those from anywhere in New Zealand.
Q. What is the problem with Starship's operating theatres?
A. There are six operating theatres. The two cardiac theatres date from 2003 and a quite adequate. The other four date from 1991, have had relatively little upgrading and are considered out of date. The theatres are frequently at capacity because of population growth and the increasing complexity of surgery.
Q. What is the theatres project?
A. The theatres suite is being expanded and upgraded to cope with the increasing demand for children's surgery. The pre-operative and post-op areas have been expanded and made better for children and parents. Work has started on building a seventh theatre and on refurbishing the first of the four original theatres that will be upgraded. New lighting, new surgical video screens and other advanced technology will be installed to enhance patient care and working conditions.
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Q. Who is paying for the project?
A. The taxpayer-funded Auckland District Health Board is undertaking the project at a cost of around $9 million. The Starship Foundation fundraising charity has pledged to raise $3.1 million.
Q. What will the Help Our Kids money go towards?
A. The $150,000 from the Help Our Kids campaign will help fund vital equipment for the new operating theatre and refurbish four of the existing operating rooms.
Q. How can I make a donation?
A. You can make online donations HERE. Offline donations can be made by printing off the form below and filling it out. Or look in the print edition of the Herald.
and from the Starship Help Our Kids Campaign Donation Page
Help Our Kids - a New Zealand Herald and Starship Campaign
Imagine if the Starship operating room walls could talk. Inside these rooms, the Starship surgical teams operate on more than 9,000 children every year. From routine procedures, to urgent life-saving surgeries, and sometimes incredibly complex, ground-breaking operations.
However the operating rooms are now 22 years old. They were built for another time. A time when there were fewer patients, with less complex conditions, before many of today's medical advances and technologies had even been dreamed of.
The children of New Zealand deserve the best. And that's why we urgently need your help. Please donate to support the upgrade of Starship's operating theatres.