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Starship Children To Enjoy The Magic Of Reading

20,000 Starship Children To Enjoy The Magic Of Reading

The Starship Foundation Charity has announced that for the first time more than 20,000 Starship National Children's Hospital inpatients will be given their very own book to keep as part of a new Coca-Cola Magic of Reading programme.

Until now, Starship has not had the resources to be able to give children their own books to keep and the risk of cross infection has meant books could not be widely shared by children. The Coca-Cola Magic of Reading programme, which is part of the company's association with the Harry Potter movie, allows patients from across the country to choose a book and to take it home and enjoy it with their families. The programme officially begins at the start of 2002.

Patients who will benefit from the programme are those who stay one night or more at Starship and day surgery patients.

Andrew Young of the Starship Foundation says that Starship Hospital is thrilled to be the recipient of such an innovative and valuable programme.

"When children are too sick to do anything else they can still be read to. Even children in intensive care, who are extremely unwell, can still be read to by staff or family. Reading gives the parents a role in caring for their child in a situation where they can feel very helpless. And, because many children come from out of town and are rushed here in a hurry, caregivers are often unable to bring books with them," says Mr. Young.

General Manager of Starship, Mr. Rex Paddy, believes the programme will be of immense benefit to the Starship patients. "Many of our children come from underprivileged backgrounds. For some of the older pre-school children, Starship is their first contact with role models for success. It may also be their first contact with books. I have had many people say to me that they believe a hospital admission can be a turning point in these children's lives as it exposes them to things they may not get to experience at home."

Spokesperson for Coca-Cola, Susie te Velde says, "Coca-Cola wants to enable all children who stay at Starship Hospital to share in the magic of reading and for families to see how books can help them unlock a child's potential. Coca-Cola is committed to giving back to the community and what better way to do it than a programme such as this."

- Ends -

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