Alexandra 2-year-old William Carroll is proving age is no barrier when it comes to helping raise money for paediatric hospital services around the country.
William was born at just 24 weeks, weighing 700g, and spent the first 104 days of his life in hospital – firstly in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital.
Dunedin Hospital staff nominated William to be the face of this year’s Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal, which started on August 5 and ends on October 27.
The appeal aims to raise more than $1million to help make a significant difference to thousands of sick Kiwi children and their families.
All the funds raised are given to the country’s hospitals for their “wish lists”.
This year’s appeal will help Dunedin Hospital Children’s Services buy iPads to distract children in ED, a blood analyser and specialist resuscitation equipment.
William’s early start in life meant he still had a lot of growing to do before he was deemed well enough to go home with his parents Gemma Van Den Heuvel and Dion Carroll.
Among his challenges were a hernia and bronchiolitis, which meant he required oxygen, Miss Van Den Heuvel said.
As a result, he was sent to Christchurch for further paediatric care.
Once he was well enough to go home, William became a regular at Dunstan Hospital, where he received physiotherapy child development care to ensure his movements were tracking well.
Now, two and a-half years on, William is healthy and doing everything he should be doing.
“He goes to kindy every day because he loves it,” Miss Van Den Heuvel said.
Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal has so far raised about $1.2million for Dunedin Hospital since it began 13 years ago.
Miss Van Den Heuvel wished to thank the people behind the appeal and those who support it because it had enabled the hospital to “make a difference to all who walk through their doors”.