A treat for mums with disabled kids

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:22 18/03/2014
Hayley Jahnke
DAVID UNWIN/ Fairfax NZ
SUPPORT: Hayley Jahnke has put together champagne breakfast for other mums of disabled kids.

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A Palmerston North woman is putting her own needs second to give other deserving mothers a smile and a treat.

Mother of two Hayley Jahnke is organising a champagne breakfast through the SmileDial charity for 10 mothers who have children with disabilities or long-term illnesses.

SmileDial is a Christchurch charity which focuses on the parents and caregivers of children with special needs.

It is the second champagne breakfast funded by Smiledial, and this year organisers in other cities were sought to create the first national event.

Mrs Jahnke's 11-month-old son Ethan was born with a heart defect and has a rare chromosome disorder.

"My son has a disability, so I know what these mums are going through, how hard it is to get time to yourself," she said. "Some of these mums I've met at Starship children's hospital and some have shown me a lot of support, so I just wanted to give back to them."

On March 30, more than 60 mothers across four cities will sit down to a champagne breakfast to wine, dine and share stories.

Ten mums from Manawatu will be celebrated at Bethany's Restaurant and Cafe in Palmerston North, and given a goodie bag with gifts from local businesses.

Mrs Jahnke has not told many people about her son's conditions, which turned her life upside down and forced her to give up her job.

"We've had a hard year starting with Ethan having been born in Wellington because he had a heart condition," she said. "At eight weeks he went into heart failure.

"We went to Starship children's hospital and he had open heart surgery then we came back to Palmy and spent another three weeks in Palmerston North Hospital.

"He does have developmental delays so it's getting him down to Wellington to conduct education . . . and it's medical appointment after medical appointment."

Mrs Jahnke said there were other mothers out there worse off than her, still going through a lengthy hospital journey.

"I decided to help out with the breakfast when I quit my job and I said to myself ‘I'm at home, I think it's time to give back'," she said. "It also means I can keep myself busy and not focus on all that's wrong."

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- Manawatu Standard

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