Xena celebrates Starship
East and Bays Courier
28 November 2008
In two minutes and 30 seconds, celebrity Lucy Lawless made
up a children's bed complete with colourful pillows and pink
sheets to mark the end of a fundraising campaign for Starship
Australian-based linen and manchester company Lorraine Lea
Linen has raised $115,000 for the oncology ward through its
Party for Kids with Cancer initiative Ė the first time the
company has raised money for a New Zealand charity.
Chief executive Adrian Ryan struggled to keep up with the
quick pace set by Ms Lawless, the hospital patron, in front of
an eager crowd at the Starship atrium on Tuesday.
He admits he was nervous before his debut, and even googled
the Xena: Warrior Princess star the night before "to see how
credible my bedmaking opponent might be".
The contest was judged by Starship vice-chairwoman Rosie
Horton and former oncology patient Ruby Seeto who declared the
race a "dead-heat".
The same bed would take hospital staff less than two minutes
The money will go towards renovating eight single inpatient
rooms for pre-teen patients who need space to recover away from
much younger patients.
This is part of a $6 million upgrade of the oncology and
For 11-year-old Ruby and mum Sharon, the upgrade couldnít
come soon enough. Ruby was diagnosed with a rare form of liver
cancer in October 2006.
She was sharing a room with three other sick children, their
parents, caregivers and equipment.
"It was called the Ďdreaded roomí. It was quite traumatic,"
says Mrs Seeto.
"There were babies crying, sick people all over the place,
only one TV, equipment beeping, and you have to be quiet.
"Itís like a railway station, doctors and nurses coming and
going. I slept on a camp stretcher, I even slept under the sink
Ė something that is forever in my memory."
The Ellerslie resident welcomes the new rooms, saying itís
vital to separate children of different ages who have different
Ruby is now 12 months past her chemotherapy, "healed, happy
and energetic", but still comes to the hospital once every few
"If you have your individual room, then you have some peace.
Youíre stuck with your own misery, but you donít want to share
the misery of others."
Starship chief executive Andrew Young says the money will
allow them to bring rooms up to international standards with the
latest medical equipment.
"Iím so proud and grateful that in their first efforts to
raise money for a New Zealand charity, they raised a record
Now in its ninth year, the Party for Kids with Cancer fund
was established in memory of Lorraine Lea Linenís founder Peter
Ryan, who lost his battle with the disease in 1999.
A different hospital receives the funds each year. Last year,
more than $75,000 was raised for the Sydney childrenís hospital.
Mr Ryan says itís exciting a New Zealand hospital has
benefited this year.
"For the last few years since we have been active in New
Zealand, our consultants there have been supporting fundraising
for Australian hospitals," he says.
"With Starship as the recipient this year, our Australian
consultants were very pleased to finally be returning the