Tattoo artists are helping bring tiny cancer victim Kosher-Love Lopes home from hospital.
The South Auckland toddler has been in Starship since February when her dad Peter noticed a firm lump bulging from her abdomen while he was changing her.
The world changed for Kosher-Love's parents in the space of a day. They got the devastating news that she had a tumour the size of a tennis ball.
The cancer was wrapped around her aorta and was spreading fast across her body and smothering her kidney.
Chemotherapy was started immediately to give Kosher-Love - aka Koko - the best chance of survival.
The tumour has been removed and she's had seven sessions of chemotherapy since she turned two in March.
Radiation treatment begins next week - 20 sessions over four weeks.
Her parents alternate sleepovers at the hospital because someone needs to be at home with Koko's 7-year-old sister Eyana and 1-year-old brother Zedakaya.
That's a lot for any family to go through so friends, relatives and complete strangers have stepped in to help ease the pressure.
They arranged a Facebook event last weekend to raise money so Koko can return home with the equipment necessary to keep fighting the cancer.
She needs an oxygenated water and air machine which can cost thousands of dollars.
Organisers Chantelle and Thomas Blakelock, the owners of PIT Tattoo studio in Manukau, opened their shop doors and hosted the fundraising event.
They also offered Kosher-Love tattoos that they and their apprentice Hinano Wearing designed just for Koko.
Scores of donated items were put up for silent auctions, hairdressers and barbers gave $5 to $10 haircuts, massage therapists offered rub-downs for a donation and the tattoo artists worked non-stop.
Watching it all was Koko. Her mum Raewyn Crowe had asked the doctors at Starship if the little girl would be allowed out for the day.
And she promised her daughter she would shave off all of her own hair in support.
"I decided to do it there to show my appreciation for the mass support - I also chose now because her hair will start to grow back after her radiation and I always planned to grow my hair back with her."
Mrs Blakelock got together a crew of people who also pledged to shave off their hair if they hit the fundraising target of $5000.
More than $7000 was raised so a lot of women ended up leaving with bald heads, she says.
Mrs Blakelock is thrilled with the success of the day.
"It went really well. We still have some items up for auction with all proceeds going to Kosher's family. It was a bit hectic but at the end of the day all the positives outweigh any of the negatives."
There were also lots of smiles and tears of joy from Koko's family at the thought of being able to be at home together. Her parents say they are overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers and are grateful to everyone for their support.
HOW TO HELP To donate to the fundraising campaign go to Kosher-Love's Facebook page. There will also be auctions for a Chiefs rugby jersey signed by Liam Messam or boxing gloves signed by Sonny Bill Williams on Trade Me in coming weeks.
Liza Kire is a Wintec journalism student
- © Fairfax NZ News