Seeing charity bring life to a sick friend has inspired a young New Plymouth woman to become a charity event planner.
In 2007 Danielle O'Reilly lost her friend Jasmine McBeth to cancer but before she died she received a dream trip to the Gold Coast courtesy of the charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Since then Miss O'Reilly has created, organised and pulled off eight charitable events and on Saturday she is hosting a charity masquerade ball.
The aim is to raise $2500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation – the most she has ever gathered from one event.
Miss O'Reilly has roped in Taranaki and Chiefs rugby player Shane Cleaver to help with the evening being held at the Plymouth International Hotel.
"Shane and three other models will be dressed by Kudos on the night and act as live models for people having ball photos taken in the photo booth," she said.
"To make things even better Shane has got a Chiefs rugby jersey signed by the whole team to put up for auction."
Raffles and an auction will run as part of the evening that also includes a sit-down dinner and live band, Ash and Aidan.
Kudos owner Paul Scouller said he was thrilled to be part of such a great event run by a very special person.
"It's a real credit to Danielle and it's difficult not to get involved with something like this when it's going to be such a great night and brilliant for a place like Taranaki," he said.
Clothing from Kudos, jewellery and some artwork will also be included in the auction.
So far 120 tickets have been sold but there's room for up to 240 on the night.
"Traditionally people buy tickets for these sorts of things very last minute and every other event I've held at the Plymouth has been sold out," Miss O'Reilly said.
After fracturing her spine in 2010 and having a year off work, there was plenty of spare time to organise events under the banner of her company, Events with Flair.
"I work fulltime doing marketing for Rampage Fitness now so I don't have as much time but I like to have a couple of things on the go each year," she said.
People ask her why she doesn't raise money for other charities but it's the fact the money stays in Taranaki that is the drawcard.
"The Make-A-Wish Foundation is great to work with and everything raised here goes to people needing the money in Taranaki and that's what I love about it most," she said.
The 23-year-old says people are always surprised by how young she is when she runs local events.
"The next fundraiser in the pipeline is to break the southern hemisphere record for the longest catwalk," she said.
"The current record is about 1.4km and I'd like to beat that by doing something down on the foreshore later in the year."
Tickets for the ball can be purchased for $50 from Mainly Magazines and Cards on Devon St West.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you offended by male nudity?Related story: Laid bare