Oamaru’s Whitestone Linedancers were dancing to the beat of a new drum at the club’s annual social.
Every year, the event attracts linedancers from across the South Island to Oamaru, but there was something different about it this time around.
Rather than just its usual dance, the event doubled as a fundraiser for the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland.
Last year, line dance instructor Shelley Moore’s son, Harry, spent six days at the children’s hospital.
“It happened so fast,” Mrs Moore said.
When Harry first became sick, she took him to a GP, who said it would blow over.
It did not.
Mrs Moore and her husband, Andy, knew something was not right, so they took Harry to Oamaru Hospital.
An infection had got into his blood and the 7-year-old developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
The next day, he was taken to Dunedin Hospital, before being transferred to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, where he stayed for six days.
He was at risk of renal failure and doctors thought he would need to go on dialysis.
“Without Starship, he may not have made it.”
Because Auckland was under Level 2 Covid-19 restrictions at the time, Mrs and Mr Moore had to take turns between staying with Harry and minding their 4-year-old daughter, Sophie.
After leaving the hospital, Harry’s kidneys were checked weekly, then monthly.
They would be checked annually for the rest of his life.
After Harry’s experience at Starship, Whitestone Linedancers member Mandy Hutton suggested turning the club’s annual social into a fundraiser for the children’s hospital.
Mrs Moore was “blown away” by the support.
“It gave me goose bumps to know that people cared.”
The social was advertised as a fundraiser and local businesses from across Oamaru donated items for raffles and spot prizes.
The social was held at the end of July, and 126 people attended the “W-themed” dance.
The group raised $2000 dollars and matched it “dollar for dollar”. Last week, Harry was presented with a $4000 cheque, which would be passed on to Starship Hospital.
Mrs Moore was “overwhelmed”.
“Even Harry was quite chuffed.”
The donation would go towards the hospital’s $15 million paediatric intensive care unit upgrade.
The Whitestone Linedancers’ fundraising days were not over.
Next year, the club planned to raise money for Auckland’s Ronald McDonald House, where the Moore family stayed in Auckland while Harry was treated.