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Ruby’s Berry Smoothie Tea Towel a Sweet Result for Starship

Media Release
30 May 2014

Ruby’s Berry Smoothie Tea Towel a Sweet Result for Starship

Cancer survivor Ruby Seeto’s latest smoothie tea towel fundraiser has raised a sweet $54,000 to fund an international training fellowship for a Starship doctor.

17-year-old Ruby has partnered with linen retailer Wallace Cotton since 2009 to produce fundraiser tea towels at $10 each, with $6 (all proceeds after costs) from each sale donated to Starship.

Funds raised from the 2013 smoothie tea towel mean Starship Paediatric Intensivist Dr Anusha Ganeshalingham can undertake a fellowship programme at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to learn more about the intensive care of children with brain injuries.

Dr Ganeshalingham will begin her fellowship next month and return to Starship in a year to use her knowledge and further develop Starship’s own neurocritical care services.

“Brain injury, most commonly caused by trauma, is a major cause of disability and death amongst New Zealand children,” says Dr Ganeshalingham. “Working at one of the largest children’s hospitals, alongside world leading clinicians and researchers in brain injury will provide me with incomparable experience in this field.”

Starship’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the only intensive care unit in New Zealand specifically designed for children. There are approximately 1,200 children from across the country admitted to PICU each year, including all children with severe brain injuries.

Over the last decade there have been significant advances in monitoring, imaging and treatment of brain injuries. Approximately 90% of children with the most severe brain injuries now survive, but unfortunately disability is still very common.

Knowing the money raised from her tea towel is going to such a good cause is humbling to Ruby who had major surgery at age nine in October 2006 to remove a 1.6kg tumour from her liver and spent one year undergoing intensive chemotherapy at Starship.

“I’m proud to help ensure Starship has the best doctors so it can continue to be the best kids’ hospital. Thank you to everyone who has purchased my tea towel and especially to Wallace Cotton who help the whole process in so many ways,” Ruby says.

“Wallace Cotton customers have a huge affection for Ruby’s tea towels,” says Creative Director Paula Wallace.

“Their ongoing support has meant our partnership with Ruby has now raised more than $300,000 for Starship, an achievement we are extremely proud of. We look forward to the launch of Ruby’s next tea towel design which will be released later this year.”

Ruby’s Starship fundraiser tea towels are available online at, by free phone 0800 222 122, or through Wallace Cotton stores in Newmarket, Takapuna, Birkenhead & Ponsonby Central in Auckland, The Old Bank Arcade in Wellington, Ballantynes in Christchurch and Timaru and Arthur Barnett in Dunedin, in addition to home stores in Tauranga and Palmerston North and Homeward, Te Awamutu.


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