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Rebecca &
Bernard Tamati

Maia Health Foundation Couple Sick Child NZ Heathcare Charity

story —

When a mother’s intuition told Rebecca Tamati that something was badly wrong with her five year old daughter Dior, it was the beginning of a terrifying few weeks for Rebecca and Bernard.

Dior was suffering from an everyday virus, but her body didn’t know that. A rare condition called transverse myelitis caused it to start attacking the cells within her body rather than the culprit virus, leading to an inflamed spinal cord and muscle paralysis.

“She started losing function in her neck, her arms, her face, and we didn’t know what was wrong. When we got to hospital, however, it was remarkable how they took over, instantly assessing the seriousness of the situation, and proactively running all the tests needed to figure her out,” says Rebecca.

“That was just so comforting for a mum who knows their child is not ok.”

Dior was to spend the next five weeks in the children’s ward of Christchurch Hospital as she slowly recovered from the debilitating condition. During those long weeks, the family struggled with the logistics of maintaining any sort of normality in the hospital surrounds.

“Visitors were important for both Dior and I, for our own mental health and just to provide that relief from the long days and nights in hospital. Without much in the way of family spaces or children’s play facilities, it was definitely challenging to accommodate visits, especially with our 10 year old son. Really early on, I saw the need for some access to a lounge and a play area open outside of school hours.”

“There are some really simple but important things that would have made such a difference for us. For Dior, sometimes we needed somewhere engaging and safe to take her, away from her room, to manage some challenging behaviour caused by her medication. The work the Māia Health Foundation is doing will mean these improvements make a real difference for whanau in the future. Canterbury needs that.”

Your gift to the Māia Health Foundation will help families like Rebecca’s today. Find out more.

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