Family's sweet idea to help Starship while daughter on waiting list for heart surgery

Myles, Max, Lucy and Charlotte in front of their honey stall. Photo: Geoff Sloan ​
Myles, Max, Lucy and Charlotte in front of their honey stall. Photo: Geoff Sloan ​
Seven-year-old Lucy White is on a waiting list for heart surgery due to a shortage of intensive care beds. But it has not stopped her family from fundraising to help alleviate the shortfall.

Starship’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Auckland is currently at critical capacity every 48 hours.

It is the only dedicated children’s intensive care unit in the country, where the most critically ill and injured children are treated.

Starship needs to raise $40 million to meet its shortfall to fix the bed shortage and upgrade its PICU.

Lucy’s mother Charlotte Easton said due to an overwhelming need for PICU beds, mostly due to the RSV virus, they needed to wait one to two months before Lucy could have her surgery.

While they waited, they wanted to help with Starship’s fundraising efforts.

As Lucy’s father Myles White has 100 beehives, the family decided to spend a weekend selling honey from their stall on Blackpoint Rd in Charteris Bay.

They sold 43 jars and raised more than $600, all with the “incredible support” of the harbour community.

Easton said Lucy, her first child, had been a “perfect pregnancy” and nothing “troublesome” had been picked up during her scans.

It was a normal birth until they realised Lucy was not breathing and she needed to be resuscitated.

Lucy in hospital at five weeks old. Photo: Supplied
Lucy in hospital at five weeks old. Photo: Supplied
Lucy was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition affecting only one in 10,000 births.

It is characterised by medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, learning challenges, and a highly social personality.

The family took Lucy home after she was born with several oxygen tanks in tow.

At five weeks old, Lucy and Easton were flown up to Starship on a “life flight” for emergency surgery.

Lucy had a cardiac arrest on the operating table but the medical staff saved her.

She had further surgery at 15-months-old and has since travelled up to Auckland a further 15 times.

“We were told they didn’t know if she would get to age one but getting her to three would be great,” said Easton.

“And yet, she’s now made it to seven.”

Lucy is waiting for surgery because the stents in her descending aorta are too small and need to be replaced.

The Government has already provided $25 million to Starship’s fundraiser.

Visit starshipicu.org.nz/home to donate.

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