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Radio volunteer sings from heart

RACHEL STURGES
Last updated 13:16 19/02/2014
Campbell MacKenzie

GIVING BACK: Campbell MacKenzie enjoys singing live at Radio Lollipop.

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It's hard to believe Radio Lollipop singing star Campbell MacKenzie was born with a life-threatening condition.

The day-old baby boy couldn't breathe or feed and was diagnosed with an internal organ abnormality.

He needed urgent medical attention from the team at Starship children's hospital to save his life.

Today he is a healthy 14-year-old who regularly gives back to the hospital by singing live on Radio Lollipop to entertain the young patients.

Cam has loved music for as long as he can remember.

"I started playing guitar when I was 6 and I really did like listening to music, and it kind of kicked off," he says.

His first public performance was at a school variety show.

Then, when he was 9 and wanting to raise funds for the Starship Foundation, he started busking on Auckland's Vulcan Lane.

He later sang at the 2009 Starship Supernova Swing fundraising concert alongside Op Shop frontman Jason Kerrison.

He wanted to do more but was too young to be a volunteer on the wards so he contacted Radio Lollipop to see if he could sing for them.

"I felt like I needed to give something back to the kids," he says.

Radio Lollipop chairwoman and volunteer Angela Mackie says Cam is an amazing person.

"When he sings he draws people to him. We count him as one of our celebrity guests."

The effect his singing has on the children is amazing, she says.

"I was once sitting with two girls on the ward and Cam was singing live on the radio.

"When I told them who he was, their faces were shining when they found out he was just an ordinary boy like them," Ms Mackie says.

"They were gobsmacked."

Cam would like to continue his involvement as a volunteer with Radio Lollipop when he turns 18.

"I'm not even a proper volunteer now but I still feel like I'm part of the Lollipop family. It's a good family."

RADIO LOLLIPOP

Radio Lollipop is set to receive $30,000 from the registration proceeds of Ports of Auckland Round the Bays.

Cam MacKenzie and his family have registered with the Radio Lollipop team to run along the 8.4km route.

Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is a joint collaboration between the Auckland Joggers Club and Fairfax Media, owner of the Manukau Courier and its parent company Suburban Newspapers. Registration proceeds will also help support Cystic Fibrosis Auckland branch, The Hearing House, Crohn's and Colitis New Zealand, Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, Kidsline and Fairfax First Books.

The event takes place on March 9 and starts at 9.30am.

Go to roundthebays.co.nz for more information and to register.

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- Manukau Courier

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