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Ruby's Tea Towel 2017

Wallace Cotton launches the 2017 Ruby Seeto for Wallace Cotton fundraising tea towel for Starship.

19 year old cancer survivor Ruby Seeto joined a group of Starship children to run a creative classroom session at the national children's hospital that saved her life. It coincides with the launch of Ruby's latest fundraising tea towel, 'Pineapple Paradise for Starship'.

At 9 years old, Ruby's was diagnosed with a rare cancer requiring surgery to remove a 1.6kg tumour from her liver. In that time the Aucklander, who is currently studying in Wellington, has made a big difference with a simple idea - designing and selling tea towels. 'Watermelon ice pops for Starship' is Ruby's eleventh tea towel design; she has partnered Kiwi linen and homeware brand Wallace Cotton to produce the last eight and together they have raised more than $480,000 for the Starship Foundation.

Pineapple Paradise, Ruby's new tropical design was inspired from Ruby's recent trip to Hawaii and is available as a tea towel or wash cloth set.

Money raised from the sale of the tea towels will go towards the ovarian tissue cryopreservation banking protocol for New Zealand Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Services, to benefit young cancer patients. This will ensure the option of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and storage is made available to all eligible girls within a nationally available and approved programme.

I am also very proud to be supporting the Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation project with this year's tea towel. I think it is very important that the option of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and storage is made available to all eligible girls nationwide, so no one is disadvantaged from their cancer treatment.

Ruby Seeto

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is the only means of preserving fertility for pre-pubertal girls who are at high risk of infertility related to cancer treatment. While international and New Zealand recommendations are that this technology be made available to girls in this high risk group, it is not currently funded in New Zealand. This means until now only those with the personal resources to pay for the processing and storage of the tissue are able to benefit from the service.

The Starship Foundation funding will be used to support the costs associated with retrieval of ovarian tissue (via laparoscopic surgery at the time of central line insertion or other standard procedure), specialist training of technical staff, processing of the tissue at Fertility Associates, and ongoing storage of the tissue.

It is anticipated that this protocol will remain open to accrual until ovarian tissue cryopreservation for eligible patients is included in the service specifications for DHBs. The Ministry of Health has indicated this project will be publically funded from 2019.

During Ruby's cancer treatment, she spent 12 months at Starship Hospital undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

It is so rewarding to give back to the amazing hospital that helped me get better, connecting with children who are going through their own tough journey.

Ruby and her family are absolute stars for Starship, and Wallace Cotton has been a crucial partner adding commercial expertise and other generous support through the years

Aisha Daji Punga, Chief Executive Officer,Starship Foundation

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