Tangi and Nooroa Ruvea found themselves living the year from hell recently, when their first grandchild fell severely ill with extreme jaundice and was later diagnosed with biliary atresia,
a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants.
Dominic Joseph-Kura was the first Cook Islander to be diagnosed with the life-threatening illness and it meant the family needed to seek medical attention in New Zealand.
They were referred to Ronald McDonald House, where they were accommodated and looked after for seven months whilst young Dominic underwent surgery and treatment.
During this time Tangi received help from Ronald McDonald House in setting up an Inland Revenue account, applying for the appropriate benefits, and finding permanent accommodation for Dominic and his parents. The long road ahead meant Dominic would require specialist medical help which is not available in the Cook Islands.
Ronald McDonald house also helped organise the schooling of Tangi and Nooroa’s youngest son while the family coped with the reality of Dominic’s life-threatening illness.
“The services that the Ronald Mcdonald House provide are free. They gifted us a home away from home which meant we didn’t have to worry about how we would afford to stay close to the hospital.
“And we could focus on supporting each other, Dominic and getting our daughter set up for her life in New Zealand,” says Tangi.
“We know that we don’t have to pay for all the help we received from the Ronald McDonald organisation, but they were just so amazing to us during our time of need, that we would love to give back.
“This is our way of thanking them and giving back.”
Tangi and her family are asking for gold coin donations, or any monetary donations during their runathon which will begin in Arorangi on Saturday morning and head towards Titikaveka.
Girl Guides and other youth organisations will help with the fundraising event. All proceeds will be donated to the Ronald Mcdonald House Charity and Tangi and Nooroa plan to fly back to New Zealand and present the organisation with the money.
The family hope the community will get behind them in their bid to give back to the organisation that has helped so many Cook Islands families.
“We only ask that you donate a few dollars on Saturday during the runathon, or if you see us out fundraising that you donate whatever your kind heart desires,” says Tangi.
More information about the fundraiser, and Dominic Joseph-Kura’s story in CINews this week.