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Surprise for Olivia

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 10:56 06/12/2012
olivia
WISH GRANTED: Olivia Tetley of Helensville receives a laptop and other treats from Make-A-Wish New Zealand. Suburban Newspapers Auckland, publisher of the Rodney Times is supporting Make-A-Wish New Zealand.

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Wishes do come true.

Olivia Tetley was surprised when Make-A-Wish New Zealand granted her request for a laptop and other items.

The Helensville 10-year-old also got a doll, Body Shop pamper pack, Twister dance game, iPod accessories, a headphone set, Make-A-Wish toy animal and drink bottle at a ceremony with family, friends and St John Ambulance representatives at the Helensville Rugby Club on November 23.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of selected children with life-threatening medical conditions.

The Waioneke School girl has chronic brittle asthma, which means she can "become very serious very quickly" in her struggle to breathe, mum Jackie says.

Sometimes the attacks are so severe she cannot walk and is transported in a wheelchair.

"I sometimes think Olivia has two lives. One where she looks and acts like a little girl, swimming and laughing with her friends. And the other at Starship children's hospital with her friends that also have long-term illnesses. They have known each other their whole lives."

Olivia's condition was discovered when she was three months old. She takes preventative medicine twice daily.

"She also has regular visits to her doctor, and to the respiratory team at Starship," Jackie says.

"Olivia has oxygen at home and also a nebuliser for when the asthma gets worse suddenly. I sometimes have to call for an ambulance in the middle of the night as the asthma has become so bad so quick that we need the hospital.

"Twice she has been flown to Starship by the Westpac rescue helicopter."

But Olivia is not one to let her illness get the better of her. She played netball and touch rugby last year before deciding rugby wasn't her thing, Jackie says.

"She also went on a four-day school camp, which was scary for me, but she had a dedicated teacher."

Olivia has shown netball potential but the time spent in hospital left her struggling to keep up with practices.

"But she doesn't let her asthma stop her from doing anything if she can help it," Jackie says. "And I do what I can to make her well, or keep her well, if she has an event coming up.

"It might mean taking her to the doctor for a week or two of steroids to strengthen her lungs and that keeps the asthma at bay," she says.

Olivia loves singing and with her brother George met Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez at Starship in July.

"She is always involved with Starship's Radio Lollipop. Children go down to the DJ booth, play games or do art, or request songs, and sing on air as Olivia loves to do," Jackie says.

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- Rodney Times

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