Maia Foundation feast raises $250k for Christchurch Hospital beds, helipad
In a night, generous Cantabrians raised more than $250,000 to support the region's cash-strapped health system.
The money will help pay for beds for parents staying with their sick children in Christchurch Hospital's new acute services building, which is being built, and a larger helipad.
More than 230 guests supported the Maia Health Foundation feast, paying $315 for tickets to the Christchurch Art Gallery event on Saturday.
Foundation chief executive Michael Flatman said a larger rooftop helipad and clinical support unit was "value engineered out" of the original rebuild plan to cut costs.
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The foundation wanted the community's support to re-instate the original design.
A larger helipad would allow for different sized helicopters and a rooftop medical unit, which would ensure patients received high-level medical treatment upon touchdown, Flatman said.
Beds would replace uncomfortable lounge chairs parents used when staying with sick children. The charity aimed to pay for 60 beds, he said.
The $256,000 funds raised on Saturday was about five times' the original target of $50,000 and brought the total raised by the foundation to $3.2m since launching last year.
The foundation aimed to raise $5.2m for the helipad and children's projects, Flatman said.
Foundation founding sponsors Andrew and Jo Allan's 9-year old daughter, Ruby, spent many nights in hospital because of an acute respiratory illness from seven months to age five.
It made them appreciate the health services.
"She was regularly hospitalised and often for days at a time ... Jo and I became very familiar with the children's ward and staff," Andrew Allan said.
Allan said watching his daughter during a respiratory episode, struggling to breathe and turning blue was "terrorising". At those times she was rushed to hospital to receive oxygen.
A spur of the moment decision meant they won singer Bic Runga's Crafter guitar in the auction.
"It just felt ...that it was just the right thing and to give that to Ruby, who plays the guitar, will be even more special," Allan said.
Former deputy Canterbury District Health Board chairman Steve Wakefield and Helen Wakefield made a $100,000 donation and received spontaneous applause.
"I think it's good to send a signal to all those in our community who are able to help, to encourage them to support the health system and new initiatives that are coming along."
He said while Canterbury was fortunate to have such high quality health services, there was never enough money. The foundation provided a way for people to show their support.
Radio personality Jason Gunn, the MC for the night, said his recent hospital experience after a heart attack strengthened his admiration for health care services.
"If there is one place I could take people and make them feel special and looked after, and give the people who work there the best tools, it's got to be the hospital."
Signing up to be family ambassadors for the foundation was a "no brainer", Gunn said.
A vasectomy was the first item to go in the auction with the bidder paying $2000.
Other auction items included a private coaching session with former Black Cap Brendon McCullum and a seminar session with young cancer survivor Jake Bailey.
* An earlier version of this story said $156,000 was raised. This figure incorrectly excluded the $100,000 donation.