A loving whānau is working tirelessly to help ease the struggle of their beloved 22-month-old girl, Ataahua Harris-Timoti.
Ataahua suffers from a chronic lung condition, Bronchiectasis and requires oxygen 24/7, 20% of her lungs are severely scarred and she will never regain full use of them, but the family hopes that by the time she turns 2, the healthier parts of her lungs are stronger.
Mother, Krystal Nikara says, “She constantly had a chest infection and so she was constantly treated for bronchiolitis. After three weeks of being treated with that, nothing had changed and I had to put my foot down and say no we're not moving because they sent us home. Obviously we had been treating her for this one thing this whole time but we didn't know.”
Her whānau and the community are rallying together in an effort to raise funds for a portable oxygen concentrator machine for which there is currently no public funding available.
“The DHB fully funds the oxygen tanks and concentrator but the machine we are looking at buying is the portable concentrator and unfortunately BOC doesn’t hire those out. This piece of equipment will make it easier to get around with her, instead of taking 4 or 5 tanks, we'd just take 1 machine which can also be charged on the car,” says Nikara.
Ataahua has spent nearly two years on many forms of oxygen. She is the first baby to be trialled on higher doses of High Flo Oxygen in New Zealand. Ataahua is currently on Low Flo oxygen 24 hours a day.
She spent 10 months in Lower Hutt Hospital and was sent home with regular visits from the Community Nurse, Child Development Specialist, Speech and Language Therapist and Dietician to help her reach different milestones like eating, crawling, walking and speech.
Members of the community are donating items to be raffled or auctioned and a number of sports and social fund raising evenings have also been organised.
A Give A Little fundraising page has also been set up to help bolster the families efforts and has raised almost $5,000 for the cause. You can check Ataahua’s Give A Little page here.
Among those pitching in to help are the Wainuiomata Motorcycle Club who have organised a car and bike show and a drive around the valley on the 21st of February and Wainuiomata Sports has also helped organise a netball tournament on 7th of March.
The Facebook pages set up for the Ataahua can be located by following the links below.
Te Kāea reporter, Ripeka Timutimu will speak to the whānau today and will have more tonight at 5:30 and 7pm with subtitles.