Sick mum grateful for computer for kids

NEW LIFE: Ten-year-old Molly Riley says the donated second-hand computer is ‘‘beautiful’’.
NEW LIFE: Ten-year-old Molly Riley says the donated second-hand computer is ‘‘beautiful’’.

A family torn apart by a mysterious infection has found joy in receiving a computer.

The second-hand computer donated through the Whangarei Leader is now getting plenty of use in its new home in Hikurangi.

For about six years solo mum Katharine Riley has been battling with a staphylococcus aureus infection covering her whole body, resulting in a raft of health complications.

She hasn't responded to treatment which means she has to take extra care to not spread the infection to her three children.

Katharine says since she got sick her children Lily, 19 and Mace, 17, have stepped up to help care for Molly, aged 10. Katharine is unable to touch Molly or Molly's things - she even has her own room separate to the rest of the family.

"I am so proud of my children.

"It breaks my heart that it's them who do the things I should be doing as a mother," she says.

Katharine used to work as a sculptor and sculptor trainer, plus helped teach elderly people how to use computers but had to stop all this when she got sick.

So when the family's old computer broke down a couple of years ago, she was unable to replace it.

She has her own second-hand laptop but is unable to share this with the children because of the risk of infection.

When an anonymous donor gave away his computer through the Whangarei Leader, Katharine applied for it for her kids.

That computer was given to 9-year-old Sharon Gadolo but encouraged others to also give away their second-hand, working computers.

A computer given by another anonymous donor will be used by Molly, who is year 6 at Hikurangi School but studying year 8 subjects.

Molly wants to be a chemical engineer and is also interested in learning languages.

EcoSolutions on Bank St takes electronic waste for recycling but manager Monique Portegys says reusing a computer is the best thing to do environmentally if possible.

Whangarei Leader