Amelia, Napier

A baby's early breaths should be a joyous moment for new parents. Amelia's parents didn't expect to need Starship, but Amelia struggled to breathe and needed specialist care urgently. When Colin and Kelly welcomed their little girl into the world, she seemed as happy and healthy as any baby could be.

But on her first night, things started to change very quickly.

Amelia started going blue, her nostrils started flaring. Her chest was sinking in from her trying to gasp air.

Amelia's mum, Kelly

At first, staff at the local hospital couldn't work out why Amelia was struggling to breathe.

As little Amelia grew more and more distressed, a further examination revealed Amelia had choanal atresia - a condition in which skin or bone blocks the nasal passages.

New babies mostly breathe through their noses, so Amelia could barely get air into her little lungs.

She urgently needed Starship's specialist ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) team as do thousands of children each year.

Starship's National Air Ambulance picked up Amelia and Kelly from the hospital in the Hawke's Bay and brought them to Starship.

ENT surgeon, Mr Graeme van der Meer, operated to remove the blockage that was starving Amelia of oxygen. Amelia's first sugery involved cutting the skin that blocked her airways. Kelly and Colin thought this nightmare was over, but to everyone's devastation, the skin grew back within 14 hours of surgery.

We met them at a time of crisis, but Kelly and Colin were amazing. My heart went out to them, because what should be a joyous time becomes a very, very stressful, uncertain time.

Mr Graeme van der Meer, ENT surgeon

Amelia has a 'super healing body' which means that she heals quickly and efficiently. This meant the skin kept growing back after each procedure, but Kelly and Colin with the support of the Starship Team didn't give up hope.

To keep the blockage from growing back Amelia had rubber stents inserted, which required suction every hour for six weeks.


After seven general anaesthetic surgerise, 55 IV lines, 16 flights tow and from Starship, and over seven weeks in hospital, Amelia's airways stayed open. It's thanks to the ENT department and people like you who can give children like Amelia the gifts of life and health.

Right now, Starship urgently needs your help to upgrade our ENT department with $200,000 worth of vital new equipment so babies like Amelia have the best chance to live a happy, healthy life.

Will you help by sending a gift today? Please click here to make your donation.

You can help Starship to invest in vital new equipment, such as:

  •  Two EndoCameleon telescopes and containers ($20,950)

    These cameras are used to look into patients' airways during surgery. The new cameras view multiple angles so they don't have to be changed and reinserted several times during surgery, as with older models. This allows doctors to perform surgeries in less time, and with minimal distress to the child.

  •  Strobo Video Rhino-Laryngoscope and telepath for strobe kit ($27,070).

    This technology provides the high definition images needed to accurately diagnose a child's condition, and plan the best possible treatment. 

Starship is the only place in New Zealand that can treat certain rare conditions like Amelia's.

I owe the people at Starship. I will forever owe them for what they've done for our daughter and our family.

Amelia's mum, Kelly

A gift from you will help Starship continue to provide the same loving care that Amelia and her family are so grateful for.

Please support Starship today by clicking  here.

Your generosity will save lives.

Thank you so much.



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