An "absolutely incredible" community effort has resulted in $62,500 being raised for 10-month-old Timaru boy Noah Valentine's cochlear implants.
It's $12,500 more than the family needed, and that extra money will go back to the community groups who donated it, so someone else may benefit.
"The Lions said it was the first time money donated has ever been given back," mother Sara Valentine said.
The target sum was reached in only 31 days.
"We knew we'd get there, but to have it happen in that space of time was pretty overwhelming. It hasn't hit home yet," father Matt Valentine said.
The Valentines said they had a very happy Christmas, safe in the knowledge that they had the funds for Noah's double-cochlear implant operation.
"It was a relief - in a good way. If you believe something is going to happen, it does," Sara Valentine said.
The bulk of the funding came from a multitude of individual donations, which the Valentines believe is testament to "incredible community spirit".
"When I was banking cheques, the woman at the bank said it restores your faith in humanity, and that's a really good way to put it. Sometimes people think that sense of community is lost until something like this happens; then people get behind you and pull together," she said.
The Looking production by the Geraldine Players raised $8500, and auctions, a family photo day and other ventures, combined with $20,000 from the givealittle website, meant the funds were raised. New Zealand is the last country in the First World where the Government funds only one cochlear implant.
Noah will have his operation on January 23, and the implants will be turned on on Valentine's Day.
In recognition of the community effort, the Valentines are planning on filming Noah when he hears for the first time.
"People have done some really lovely things, and we're just so thankful," Sara Valentine said.
"So many people have been supporting us, we think it's important to share it and let other people be part of it. It's only right to let them see the story through."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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