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Hart family donates $6.5 million to help transform PICU at Starship Children’s Hospital

Starship Children’s Hospital is thrilled to have received a remarkable $6.5 million donation from Graeme and Robyn Hart to the Starship Foundation, to support the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) expansion project at Te Toka Tumai Auckland.

This is one of the largest single private donations to Starship since the hospital opened.

Alongside the government’s contribution of $25 million towards the expansion project, the Starship Foundation pledged an additional $23 million to help make the facilities world-class.

The Hart family’s generosity has helped the Foundation almost reach its target, together with support from individual New Zealanders, businesses and community groups throughout the motu.

The family has been long-term supporters of Starship, including Gretchen Hawkesby’s work on the Starship Foundation Board for over 12 years, and through donations to hospital and healthcare improvements.

The latest donation will contribute to funding state-of-the-art spaces and equipment, more comfortable and nurturing environments for whānau, and supporting the education and training of highly specialised staff.

Te Whatu Ora Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services for Te Toka Tumai Auckland, Dr Mike Shepherd says, “We are so grateful to Graeme, Robyn and Gretchen for their extraordinary generosity and support over the years. The family’s donation will improve the lives of countless children and their whānau, and will help us provide world-class treatment, care and facilities for the very sickest of our nation's children.” 

Te Whatu Ora Director of Starship Services Dr John Beca says, “Starship’s PICU is a national service for the most seriously unwell children from across Aotearoa, however the expansion project will transform many services in Starship. It also includes improved spaces for the whānau of PICU patients, an upgrade of public spaces for all whānau, a Medical Day Stay Unit and enhanced staff spaces.” 

Prior to COVID-19, PICU had 22 beds and was frequently at capacity. The expansion will meet the current and future needs of the hospital.

“As we grow our specialist Starship PICU team, the additional 10 PICU beds means we can care for more children who become critically ill or need support after major surgery such as heart, spine and transplant surgery,” John says.

“This donation should be celebrated across all of New Zealand – thank you so much to the Hart family.”

Fundraising is ongoing for this multi-year redevelopment project. To help complete the PICU expansion project, New Zealanders can donate to Starship online() or by contacting the Starship Foundation directly. Starship Foundation increased its original funding goal to $23 million to help cover design improvements and construction cost increases.

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