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Tiny Life Support Success


There will be no shortage of premature jumpsuits in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Whangarei Hospital after a large donation of outfits were dropped off by a grateful family, who said without the support from the unit, their baby wouldn’t be here today.

Little Eric Kim was born two months premature at just 33 weeks, weighing just 2.3kg. Eric’s mother Alice Choi said Eric stopped breathing after an emergency caesarean but was brought back to life and kept stable thanks to the team of specialists and nurses in SCBU who cared for him for the first three and a half weeks of his life.

“I was able to stay with Eric the whole time. As a new mother to a premature baby, I learnt heaps and was very confident after I left SCBU. We really wanted to say thanks to everyone in SCBU and do something to show our appreciation,” said Alice.

During their stay, they noticed there was a shortage of jumpsuits and decided they could use their business, Kahvi Café as a venue to organise a fundraising dinner.

Once word got out, Alice said the people of Whangarei were really supportive, including local businesses Cheapskates, K &K Clothing, Cotton on, Life Pharmacy Orrs and Gifts on Rathbone who all donated items for gift baskets that were raffled off in the café.

A local pharmacist volunteered to waitress for the event and a chef from Auckland contributed her expertise to prepare the dinner. They also had customers from as far away as Australia making cash donations towards the event and local artist Evan Heasman designed the poster for the dinner.

Around 20 people turned up for the “Tiny Life Support” dinner and together with the customer donations and raffle proceeds, the Choi’s made a $645 profit which enabled them to buy 68 beautiful new premature jumpsuits to give to SCBU.

Eric is now five months old and weighs a healthy 6.7kg. When he, his family and friends delivered the jumpsuits to the team, the Nurses in the unit gathered around to see how well he had grown.

SCBU associate clinical nurse manager Merophy Brown said a gesture like this really highlights the fact that the public appreciates the work they do for them.

“We love doing what we do, but it is really nice to know that the Choi family have gone and done this off their own back and that they were able to raise so much money for our Unit. We are really fortunate to be donated lots of items – which we often then give to our families on discharge, so it’s really nice to get a whole lot of new sleep suits being dropped off today.”

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