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Mercury gives $50,000 to study, urges more

Mercury gives $50,000 to study, urges more

A research project into minimising brain damage to children on life support has received a $50,000 donation from Mercury Energy following the Herald Our Lost Children child-abuse series.

And the power company's general manager, James Munro, has issued a challenge to other companies to follow suit.

Andrew Young, chief executive of the Starship Foundation which is sponsoring much of the research, said he was "absolutely blown away" by news of the donation.

Mr Young said the money meant a vital three-year research project could be completed.

If the money had not been received, the project could have stalled.

"This is just money from the heavens," he said. "James Munro called me personally to say he'd followed the series and he'd talked to his team and they'd all been following the series and felt incredibly moved by the whole issue of child abuse in New Zealand.

"We've worked really hard to fund this research to date but we were really struggling to find a supporter to complete the research.

"It's enough funding for the research to complete its third year next year. I'm so thrilled that the New Zealand Herald series had such an impact on our supporters which culminated in this $50,000 donation."

The Starship Foundation had already been given $500 from others who had read the series.

Mr Munro said Mercury, which is already a principal sponsor of the foundation through donations it gives on behalf of its customers, was happy to help a worthy cause.

He laid down a challenge for other companies to follow Mercury's lead and donate to the charities featured in the series.

"It would be wonderful if there were a couple of other corporates out there that wanted to do a similar thing," he said.

"Child abuse is a serious issue in this country. It's a hot topic at the moment, for obvious and horrible, horrible reasons. I don't want to tell them how to run their business - it's Christmas and we're heading into a recession - but there still seem to be some really serious issues out there.

"Doing something like this is something corporates can do that maybe makes the consequences of that [child abuse] and other accidents a little less severe."

Other organisations featured in the series have also received generous offers. An Auckland couple are sponsoring two families associated with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, which has also had offers of food and clothing. Presbyterian Support has received more than $500.

ENDS

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