A birthday with a difference

Pauline is no stranger to Auckland City Hospital. She’s spent many hours there, supporting her son Chris, whose journey as a renal patient spans four decades.

After my three kidney transplants in the past 24 years, my mum, sister and I are so grateful to everyone who has helped us.

When Pauline turned 80 in June, she chose to celebrate her milestone birthday by giving back to the hospital that has been such a big part of her family’s life.

Pauline requested that, instead of giving presents, her birthday guests (above, with Pauline centre) make a donation to the Auckland Hospital Foundation via the family’s Givealittle fundraising page.

Chris says, “Mum didn’t want any presents for her birthday; she wanted to do something for the hospital, and especially the nurses, who have done so much for us since 1982.”

“In lieu of presents, she suggested donations to the hospital’s Rise scholarship programme for student nurses, which we think is a pretty cool initiative.”

The Rise scholarship programme helps aspiring nurses and midwives overcome any obstacles they face while studying. Typically, around 30% of nursing students abandon their degrees, whereas scholarship recipients have a 99% success rate and are guaranteed employment at Auckland City Hospital.

The hospital’s nurses have helped the family through tough times over the years, as Chris explains: “Mum donated her kidney to me in 1999, which lasted until 2013. My second transplant in 2020 didn’t work and was removed the next day.”

Chris’s sister Nicky tried to give him a kidney, but when tests showed it was incompatible, they entered the ‘incompatible pairs programme’.

“In May this year, I received a kidney from an amazing person who just wanted to donate to the ‘incompatible pairs programme’. Incredibly, that kidney was 100% compatible, which is a miracle as I’m only compatible with 11% of the population. Nicky’s kidney then went to another person in the programme; this is a totally selfless gift as the donors give their kidney to someone they don’t even know, simply to help their recipient.”

Pauline’s special birthday celebration raised $2,000 in lieu of presents, which will go directly towards helping a student nurse realise their dream to care for others.

“After my three kidney transplants in the past 24 years, my mum, sister and I are so grateful to everyone who has helped us, and we’re happy to support future nurses who give so much to us all,” says Chris.

We extend a huge thank you to Pauline, Chris and Nicky, and everyone who gave generously through their fundraising page – supporting a cause so close to their hearts.

Click here to learn about the many different ways you can give to Auckland City Hospital.