St Thomas More pupil Zahnee Campbell and Tauranga Hospital children's ward have benefited from a dance party held last Saturday in Mount Maunganui.
Zahnee, 5, was born with a rare facial vascular haemangioma - an external and internal birthmark - which covered much of her head and face. It has severely affected the development of her right eye which, although the birthmark has faded, continues to deteriorate.
She now needs life-saving surgery but requires $50,000 to travel to New York to have this done.
When another pupil from the same school, Joe Bourne, 6, was in Tauranga Hospital children's ward with an infection in his vertebrae, his mother Cathy Donnelly said she realised, "the medical care was excellent but their resources for play equipment was very restricted. They do not have freeview or Sky and have to rely on a collection of approx 30 DVDs for children of all ages in their care.
"Unfortunately these get lost or damaged. They also have a couple of gaming consoles and a limited supply of games, so we would like to contribute to some new films or games."
Mrs Donnelly said the family had so much support from the St Thomas More and Aquinas communities, friends and family, they wanted to give something back, "We wanted to help Zahnee and her family," she said.
Joe's brother, Connor, of the Aquinas College band M6, and fellow band members Joe Burke and Jacob Jones, organised the dance party in about 10 days and sold tickets to Year 11 students. They performed, as did another Aquinas band, Vexxon - Christopher McDonnell, Liam Summers, Callum Begley, and Jacob Jones who also plays for M6, with sound technician Luke Barker. "We wanted to raise funds and have fun," Connor said.
The successful evening was supported by local businesses Pak'nSave Papamoa which donated drinks, lollies and sausages to sell on the night, and Triac Light and Sound who provided the sound system, strobe lights and laser lights.
Six hundred dollars was raised, which will be split evenly between the children's ward and Zahnee.
"I think it's fantastic. It's nice having these teenagers involved. They're so lovely," Zahnee's mum Jade said.
Zahnee, Jade, dad Paul and brother Zandon, 4, will travel to the US for her operation in September.
Other fundraisers include Aquinas College and St Thomas More School mufti days, a large raffle at New World supermarket and "Zahnee's Charity Dinner & Auction" to be held Sunday, July 10, at Otumoetai Golf Club.
Businesses and members of the community can book a table by contacting Jade on 542 0740 or email email@example.com
Pictured: Aquinas College band members, from left, Connor Bourne, Joe Burke, Jacob Jones, Christopher McDonnell, Luke Barker, Liam Summers and Callum Begley raised funds for Zahnee Campbell with mother, Jade Campbell, and Joe Bourne, 6. Photo: Mark McKeown.