Deserving kids take trip of a lifetime without leaving the ground

By Wright Communications

The fun day was the drivers' idea, and they thought it appropriate to hold it on National Children's Day.

The drivers and other Corporate Cabs volunteers are collectively donating 150 hours (25 drivers x six hours + other volunteers) of time to the 25 children from Ronald McDonald House Auckland, Kidney Kids, Cure Kids and Kidz First.

The drivers who came up with the initiative help organise the day, and pick up the children and their families and caregivers from all over Auckland and drive them in comfort to Auckland Museum before heading in convoy to the airport.

Auckland Airport is supporting the fun day by giving the kids a lifetime experience including a Marae welcome, a demonstration from NZ Customs Detector Dogs, Airport Emergency Service crew members and a tour of the international terminal. .

In addition this year a gymnastics demonstration will be given by Katherine Paton, an inspirational young woman who received a kidney transplant in 2008. She may need another transplant for her kidney in years to come, but in the meantime she continues her top level gymnastic career.

Katherine was third in the New Zealand national late last year, and has just come back from the United States where she competed in two competitions in Los Angeles and Los Vegas. Next she plans to travel to the Australian nationals.

As well as providing inspiration for the kids of rising above life's challenges to pursue all opportunities, Katherine's involvement in the fun day is also a chance to help her fundraising efforts. Whatever money drivers donate will be matched by Corporate Cabs, up to $1000.

Corporate Cabs owner-driver, Noel Knight, from Howick, says many of the kids who will come on the day are bravely battling serious illnesses that affect them and also impact their families and those close to them.

"This is an opportunity for us to provide them with a unique and enjoyable experience that we hope will help them forget their sickness and pain, even if just for a short time.

Auckland Airport's general manager corporate affairs, Charles Spillane, says the fun day has become a special event for the airport, and is delighted it has become an annual fixture.

"We are lucky here at the airport that there is always a lot going on and so much to see, so we can make this a great day to remember for the kids and their families," he says.

The children were nominated by the four organisations, which all work to make children's lives better.

One of those who is especially looking forward to the day is Cure Kids ambassador Alana Blow from Pakuranga. The eight-year-old lives with the life threatening hereditary disorder Marfan syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that can affect the skeleton, eyes, heart and blood vessels.

Alana is available to be interviewed before the Auckland Airport Corporate Cabs Fun Day on March 2, and photographs and footage of her and the other kids enjoying the event will be available to media afterwards.


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