Tangi and Nooroa Ruvea were referred to the Ronald McDonald House Charity last year when their grandson Dominic fell extremely ill at just nine months.
After he was diagnosed with extreme jaundice, doctors and specialists in New Zealand told the family Dominic had a condition known as biliary atresia and would require a liver transplant something that would affect him for the rest of his life.
Tangi said the charity housed them for seven months during Dominic’s treatment and helped the family set up accounts in New Zealand and apply for benefits.
Tangi, her husband and their young son recently returned to the Cook Islands, where they asked the people of Rarotonga to lend them a helping hand to give something back to Ronald McDonald House.
“We were so grateful for all that the Ronald McDonald House did for us that we wanted to give back to them. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’,” Tangi said.
Organising a runathon and approaching local businesses for donations, the family were able to raise over $9000, which they will donate in full to the charity.
“We are so overwhelmed with all the support that we received from the people of the Cook Islands, we did not expect to raise this much and are so blown away with how compassionate everyone has been in regards to our Dominic,” Tangi said.
CINews recently told the story of Dominic’s treatment which has seen the young boy undergo multiple biopsies, blood tests and a liver transplant– all before he had celebrated his first birthday.
An overwhelmingly grateful Tangi said words couldn’t express how thankful she is to everyone who donated or helped them during their tough times.
“Not only was this a way to say thank you to the charity that helped save Dominic’s life, but also shed light on the options available to families who have to travel abroad for treatment.
“I have had quite a few people contact me throughout our fundraising; asking for advice or pointers as they have been referred to stay with the Ronald McDonald House in New Zealand.
“It’s a daunting time, when you have a family member who is extremely sick, especially when they are so sick they can’t receive treatment in their own country. Then you have to travel overseas to a foreign country, where you may not have family or friends.
“Going through all of this it’s understandable to feel really out of your depth.
“But Ronald McDonald House was amazing, they offered support and assistance wherever they could.”
The runathon, which took place on Saturday, August 26 saw a large number of Arorangi residents, along with groups such as the Girl Guides, join Tangi and her family in a run around the island.
“We were shocked at the amount of people who joined in on the runathon. It was just wonderful.
“We want to say thank you to every single person, organisation and family who donated, and offered support throughout this last year.
“Dominic is now a healthy 15-month old learning his ‘ABCs’ and we couldn’t have got through it without the support of charities such as Ronald McDonald. So this fundraising was really important to us,” Tangi said.
The family will travel to New Zealand to gift all the funds raised to the charity next week.