$33k needed to reach Renee's life-changing jaw surgery goal

Nuk Korako and Renee Veal. Photo: File image
Nuk Korako and Renee Veal. Photo: File image
With about $33,000 more needed to hit the goal target of $90,000, Renee Veal's life-changing jaw surgery is beginning to look within reach.

A concert, raffles and other events are in the pipeline to help Veal reach the target, including a concert by Lyttelton band The Settlers.

Settlers vocals/band member Anthony Horan said playing a show to raise funds for Veal is a “no-brainer.”

“We take for granted some things in everyday life that other people struggle with …[we’re] more than happy to help out,” Horan said.

The Settlers are a hip-hop crew from Lyttelton. Photo: Facebook
The Settlers are a hip-hop crew from Lyttelton. Photo: Facebook
Fundraising raffles are ongoing and have included tickets to the L.A.B/Shapeshifter concert in Hagley Park last weekend along with accommodation prizes for various places.

“We’re getting very, very close to the finish line which is very exciting … it’s a huge amount of money I’m very thankful for everyone, I never thought I’d get this far,” Veal said.

Veal, who grew up in Rāpaki, needs a total jaw reconstruction and jaw joint replacement operation.

For the past 10 years, the 26-year-old has struggled to sleep and eat properly and often experiences migraines.

“The pain is pretty consistent, some days I have really bad days some days I have good days,” Veal said.

Veal has significant widespread musculoskeletal pain due to an underlying hypermobility syndrome.

This makes her joints hyperflexible, causing soft tissue injuries, bone wear, joint tear and early arthritis.

The most disabling area of pain is her jaw, which often dislocates. This is known as hypermobile ehlers-danlos syndrome.

“I try not to let it [affect me]. If I talk too much, which is quite a common thing for me, at the end of the day I have a sore jaw and headaches, but I’m used to it now and I know what to expect,” Veal said.

The specialised jaw surgery costs about $90,000. A Givealittle page has been set up to help raise the money.

Replacing Veal’s jaw will ease her chronic daily pain and greatly improve her life.

The public health system will not fund Veal’s procedure, so the community has been rallying together since June last year to raise the funds.

Last October former National list MP for the Port Hills Nuk Korako biked 720km from Rāpaki to Bluff and raised about $30,000 for Veal’s surgery.

Renee Veal. Photo: Givealittle
Renee Veal. Photo: Givealittle
Korako and his wife Christine are continuing their support for Veal and have some ideas for future fundraisers.

Veal is overwhelmed by the support she has seen so far.

“Just a huge thank you to everyone who donated or spread the word [we’ve] been overwhelmed with the generosity coming in from people all over the place. I’ve been blown away by the kindness of people, it’s a very humbling experience.

“It’s a huge amount of money I’m very thankful for everyone, I never thought I’d get this far.”

  • To contribute to Veal's specialised jaw surgery costs, visit Givealittle.

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