New Zealand Herald
9 September 2000
Fans of Xena Warrior Princess leave no stone when it comes to their hero Lucy Lawless.
Despite Lawless not breathing a word to them, fans worldwide are already giving money towards New Zealand's fight against child abuse. The Xena fans read on the Herald Online website about their hero's endorsement of the Safe and Sound appeal to raise money for the country's first multi-agency centre to be set up near the Starship children's hospital in Auckland.
Lawless spoke out against child abuse after reading a story in the Weekend Herald about the fate of 3-year-old Tangaroa Matiu, who was bashed to death by his stepfather with a toilet brush and a piece of fence paling. For her it was the "last straw" in a long list of dire child abuse cases to shock the nation, and she adopted the Safe and Sound appeal as a cause. Since reading about it, Xena fans have been "rousing the forces."
One woman from Texas told the Herald that Xena fans had a humanitarian ethic.
"Most of her fans like to believe there are heroes and try our best to be one, even in small doses. Myself, I contribute regularly to Lucy's favourite charity, the Starship hospital. I believe we do so because it is our way of thanking her for the entertainment she gives us weekly."
Sharon Delaney, manager of the Official Xena Fan Club, said from Los Angeles that she would write about the appeal and give an address for donations in the next fan club kit due to go out shortly to 20,000 members.
Ms Delaney said "quite a number" of voracious Xena fans logged onto the Herald's website every day. "They check out the weather, they check out activities and events - and they look for Lucy stuff every morning."
This is not the first time Xena fans have contributed to a New Zealand cause. Last year, they gave $12,000 when a then-pregnant Lawless launched the Starship Foundation's annual appeal.
The actor says she is "totally floored" by her fans' generosity.
"I want to thank them so much for jumping on board with us," she said. "But New Zealand can't leave it to a handful of television fans. These are not rich people, they're just like us and they're contributing for another country's abused children. "We have to own up to our own social responsibility for our own kids ... Everybody should be contributing to this."
The Safe and Sound appeal, run by the Starship Foundation and Sky City, has taken off since its launch three weeks ago.
Spokesman Andrew Young could not say how much money had been raised so far but said the Newstalk ZB network had just offered $250,000 free advertising.
This came after TVNZ pledged $1 million of free airtime for the appeal.Wilson & Horton is also offering free advertising across all its publications, including the Herald, eight daily regional newspapers, more than 30 community newspapers and the group's magazines.
Mr Young said money raised so far would go towards the multi-agency centre - which will put key health, welfare, police and community agencies under one roof. Additional free airtime would be used to raise funds to initiate similar centres around the country.
End of article
Do you want to help? Make any cheques payable to STARSHIP FOUNDATION and mail to:
Sword and Staff
P.O. Box 224
Floral Park, NY 11002
or send your cheque directly to:
Safe and Sound Appeal
P.O. Box 91939
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