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Small Town Rallies Around Eight-Year-Old

The small town of Waipara in North Canterbury, along with volunteers from Christchurch and elsewhere in the Hurunui, is coming together in a massive show of force to help an eight-year-old girl with a very rare condition.

Keira Hubball was born with methylmalonic acidemia (MMA), a metabolic disorder that means her body is unable to process proteins (and some fats) properly.

Keira’s mother, Victoria Hamilton, explained the effects of her daughter’s condition. “It basically poisons the whole body” she said. “If she eats too much protein the body produces methylmalonic acid, a chemical similar to that found in anti-freeze, and it damages her organs”.

Keira and her family have had an extraordinary and ongoing battle with the illness. Her mother explained that over the years Keira has been expected not to make it twice and has recently gone blind. But the little girl continues to pull through, defying all expectation and showing a remarkable determination to be here.

“She’s really kicked butt” Hamilton said. “She has fought to be here, she doesn’t want to give up. We just need to do what’s right to help her”.

Keira now needs kidney and liver transplants. The journey to Auckland to receive them is going to be hard on the single income family.

Keira’s grandfather, Ross Hamilton, recently asked his Waipara based band if they would play a charity gig to raise funds for the family, but he never expected what would happen next.

The Band, named Inferno, includes a few members from the Waipara Volunteer Fire Brigade and a few members with ties to other bands. When Ross Hamilton, band member and fire fighter, approached his fellow band members with the idea, they got behind it so strongly the event grew like wild fire.

‘The Bands Play for Kiera’ has now become an open-air event in the small town of Waipara. The Facebook page for the event documents three bands, an impressive list of fair-like entertainment, market stalls, food vendors and a small army of volunteers in attendance. The possibility to make a very real difference for Keira’s family and the amount of fun being provided for all has become clear. Posters for the event can now be found all over the district and even displayed beside local’s letter boxes.

“It didn’t all happen over-night, but the first two bands happened pretty quick.” Mr Hamilton said. “I’m totally overwhelmed with all the support, from everybody who has become involved, everything has been very kindly donated.”

The heart-stuck grandfather explained the event is the perfect thing for Keira as she adores music. “Keira has sat up on my knee on stage one night with the band, she almost wanted to take over” he said with laughter and emotion.

One organiser and local volunteer fire fighter, Greg Curtis, explained there have been many involved in putting the pieces together.

“We were amazed at how much effort needs to go into an event like this, but also at how much people are willing to help” he said. “I’ve been working on the Facebook side of things and some planning, and others have tackled the stuff that they know. We are all just a bunch of locals giving it a crack for a really good cause.”

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