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Ice Pops Make Cool Cash for Starship

Media Release

16 May 2017

Ice Pops Make Cool Cash for Starship

New Zealanders have embraced Ruby Seeto’s latest tea towel design, snapping up nearly 10,000 ‘Watermelon ice pops for Starship’ tea towels and aprons to support Kiwi children and their families. Produced in collaboration with Wallace Cotton, the campaign has raised $59,412 for our national children’s hospital in the past year.

Ruby was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at age 9 and has designed a fundraising tea towel every year since 2007. Last month, she was joined by the team from Wallace Cotton and Starship oncology specialists to present a cheque to the Starship Foundation – proceeds from the sale of her latest tea towel campaign.

‘Watermelon ice pops for Starship’ is Ruby’s tenth tea towel design; she has partnered with premium Kiwi linen and homeware brand Wallace Cotton to produce the last eight and together they have now raised more than $450,000 to support Starship, our national children’s hospital.

Money raised from the sale of the latest tea towels has enabled the establishment of an ovarian tissue cryopreservation banking protocol for New Zealand Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Services, to benefit young cancer patients. This means the option of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and storage is now available to all eligible girls within a nationally available and approved programme.

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is the only means of preserving fertility for pre-pubertal girls who are at high risk of infertility related to cancer treatment. While international and New Zealand recommendations are that this technology be made available to girls in this high risk group, it is not currently funded in New Zealand. This means that until recently, only those with the personal resources to pay for the processing and storage of the tissue were able to benefit from the service.

Starship Foundation funding is being used to support the costs associated with retrieval of ovarian tissue via laparoscopic surgery at the time of central line insertion or other standard procedure, specialist training of technical staff, processing of the tissue at Fertility Associates, and ongoing storage of the tissue.

It is anticipated that this protocol will remain open to accrual until ovarian tissue cryopreservation for eligible patients is included in the service specifications for all DHBs. The Ministry of Health has indicated this project will be publically funded from 2019.

During Ruby’s cancer treatment, she spent 12 months at Starship Hospital undergoing intensive chemotherapy. Ten years on, and now studying at Victoria University in Wellington, Ruby still finds the time to be a star for Starship, producing a new tea towel each year; “This design is one of my all-time favourites and I’m so thrilled with how well it’s gone,” she says.

Wallace Cotton Director, Paula Wallace, adds; “We’ve seen an incredible uptake from our customers this year which means we have more money to give to this important project for the precious children who need it.”

Brad Clark, Chief Executive of the Starship Foundation, said; “It’s so great to see this funding enabling the talented Starship staff to deliver the important work around ovarian tissue cryopreservation to ensure no children are disadvantaged by their cancer treatment. To have raised more than $450,000 to date is an exceptional result. We can’t wait to see what Ruby comes up with next year!”

The tea towels ($10), aprons ($15) and a black and white tea towel with coloured markers ($16) are still available to purchase in-store and online at They are 100% cotton and $6 from every sale (all the proceeds after costs) goes to the Starship Foundation.

In support of this year’s design, Nice Blocks adapted the ice pops recipe on Ruby’s tea towel to create a limited-edition Watermelon & Lime ice block which is currently on sale. Thirty cents from every single block (RRP $3) and 50c from every four-pack (RRP $5.95) goes to the Starship Foundation, to support the same initiative.

You can keep up with Ruby and her tea towels on her Facebook page


© Scoop Media

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