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Manawa Grindlay, Manaia

Everything Manawa's sickness stole from him, the Clown Doctors returned for a few minutes. 

Young Manawa had been frequently unwell from the moment he was born, but just before Manawa's second birthday, mum Tineke's worst fears were confirmed: "I was with Manawa at the time when the specialists came to the room and told me Manawa had an immune deficiency disease called Chronic Granulomatous Disease. I was really shocked and scared."

Manawa's condition left him at risk of life-threatening infections, and he had to be kept in isolation, sometimes for weeks at a time. It robbed him of the chance to be a carefree, playful little boy like his brothers and sister.

But his diagnosis was just the beginning of a long journey, during which he spent months in hospital, sometimes in isolation. Manawa eventually underwent a bone marrow transplant which started his long and difficult road to recovery.

It was during these dark days that Tineke and Manawa had their first visit from the Clown Doctors. Tineke still remembers it vividly:

We had our curtain drawn and I could hear this 'Kia-Ora' from behind the curtain. It really melted my heart to hear that familiar language. It was just so comforting. Then they came out from behind the curtain; two bright, bubbly, sunny Clown Doctors. They got my little boy laughing and smiling, and they were just so lovely with him.

Tineke, Manawa's mum

Tineke and Manawa had several visits from the Clown Doctors during their stay at Starship, and Tineke said Manawa's face lit up each time they entered his room. He'd forget about the pain and the fear as he giggled and clapped along with them.

Here at Starship, Clown Doctors play a special role bringing the gift of laughter to seriously ill children like Manawa, helping in their healing and recovery. 

You too can help bring laughter and relief to sick young children like Manawa. Please donate today

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