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Starship Foundation - Starship Ball

Sunday Star Times
(New Zealand)

10 October 2004

Lucy's set to sparkle at Starship ball

A HECTIC filming schedule isn't stopping Kiwi actress Lucy Lawless from jetting into Auckland on Saturday to host the glamorous Starship Ball.

The tireless children's hospital supporter has less than 48 hours in New Zealand, including preparations for Saturday's ball, which will have a "Kiwiana" theme.

The Xena star's what to wear dilemma has been solved by Saks, which is providing a Versace gown. She'll match the dress with a diamond to be auctioned later that night. But with the gown in Auckland and Lawless in LA, getting it fitted has been a challenge, says Starship chief executive Andrew Young.

"I had to ring one night and she was out filming and unfortunately got her husband. It was with much embarrassment I had to say the final detail I needed to know was her bust size."

Lawless will be accompanied by her Hollywood producer husband, Rob Tapert. She said the pair was hoping to make a film in New Zealand. "The problem is that until it's in the can, you just don't like to talk about it," said Lawless, who is also working on comedy scripts.

"Hollywood is a rollercoaster. But somehow you just keep getting up, punch drunk and grab that ol' karaoke mic all over again. I'm having a great time."

Organisers are hoping the ball and its auction, which includes a trip to Wimbledon and golfing at California's exclusive Pebble Beach, will raise $100,000. Funds will go towards a tele-pediatric video conference network, which will allow doctors to diagnose patients, using Starship specialists without having to go to the hospital.

"It's really important doctors and nurses can go online and even show patients, to help with diagnosis," said Young.

Entertainment at the ball includes Kiwi musicians Peter Urlich, Debbie Harwood and Hinewehi Mohi. TV presenter Simon Dallow will co-host the Sky City ball with Lawless. Lawless, who became a Starship Foundation trustee in 2000, said she owed a lot to the hospital. "Growing up, we sure had our share of plaster casts and X-rays."

Her son Julius was also rushed to Starship after a hot cup of tea was spilt on him at just two weeks old. "It was horrifying," she told the Sunday Star-Times in 2000. "They whisked him straight in and put a second skin on him."

Support has extended as far as Xena fans rallying together and donating $100,000 to a Starship child abuse unit. Tickets are $195. Phone Amylouise on 021 900 222.

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