After saving her son’s life two years ago, Rhiannon Waswo used last year’s Round the Bridges to raise more than $2200 for the Starship Foundation.
In 2014, Rhiannon’s son Charlie was airlifted to Starship Children’s Hospital in critical condition after reacting badly following surgery on his bowel. In desperate need of help, Charlie was taken straight to specialists at Starship’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Auckland.
Charlie remained in PICU for two weeks, followed by a four-week stint in a child rehabilitation ward. Altogether it was over two and a half months before they were able to return home to Hamilton.
Thankful for everything the staff at Starship had done for Charlie while he was in their care, Rhiannon knew she wanted to do her bit to give back. When she heard about Round the Bridges’ new fundraising initiative, she jumped at the chance to get involved and to raise money for the foundation.
“Raising money at Round the Bridges was a chance for me to thank the staff at Starship for saving Charlie’s life,” says Rhiannon.
“I was so grateful for what they’d done for my family, I wanted to give back to them and help them continue providing top medical care for children in New Zealand.”
Rhiannon set up her everydayhero fundraising page with less than two months to go until the event, but was still able to raise an incredible $2263.50 for Starship; an achievement that resulted in her becoming Round the Bridges’ top fundraiser in 2015.
“I really didn’t expect it to go so well,” admitted Rhiannon.
“Once the ball starting rolling, it was really hard to stop. Every time I got a notification email about a new donation I’d get really excited.
“It felt amazing to give back to Starship and to see so many of my friends and family members rally together and support a cause that I was so passionate about.”
Rhiannon will complete her seventh Round the Bridges this November and although she is unable to fundraise at this year’s event, she hopes to see more people getting involved with the initiative.
“It would be great to see more people fundraising because it’s a great chance to give back to the community,” she said.
“If I had one piece of advice to offer anyone planning on fundraising at this year’s event it would be to aim high. And then if you reach your first goal, raise it and keep going!”
The Round the Bridges fundraising programme was introduced in 2015 and, from a combination of online donations and active fundraisers, nearly $40,000 was raised for New Zealand charities.
This year the event aims to reach a new target of $75,000.