A Touch of Kindness

2nd February 2010
By Graeme Trask
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For many New Zealanders the past few weeks have been a time of fun and joy — a time when we gather together to enjoy and share time with our families.

But after Raka and Racheal Williams, of Porirua, had enjoyed Christmas and New Year with their children and families the good times turned into a nightmare.

Earlier, Mr Williams had survived a tough time after being made redundant by Car Haulaways Ltd, at Paekakariki, where he’d worked for several years.

His colleagues there describe him as a person who ‘just got on with the job’ — and a person who ‘got on’ with everyone as well.

For many people losing a job can be devastating, but Mr Williams immediately began looking for another.

He discovered that HRS, which is part of the Downer EDI Company that is upgrading and electrifying all the rail line between McKay’s Crossing and Waikanae, needed workers.

Mr Williams approached the company and got a job.

For about 6 months, until just after Christmas and New Year all went well.

Son rushed to hospital

Then on January 15 the William’s 5-year-old son Raka Junior became ill and was taken to Wellington Hospital with suspected meningitis.

Soon afterwards Mr Williams received a call from a doctor saying something more serious was wrong and the Williams needed to go to the Hospital straight away.

When they arrived, they were told Raka didn’t have meningitis but was seriously ill with leukaemia.

The next day Raka was flown to Christchurch Hospital to start an intensive 6 months of cancer chemo treatment.
After a couple of weeks, Mr and Mrs Williams, who were taking turns to look after their son around the clock, realised it was going to be a long haul and a huge financial burden.

Company to the rescue

But when Downer EDI became aware of the severity of the situation the senior project manager at Paraparaumu, Craig Stevenson, became involved.

Mr Stevenson says his first move was to jump on a plane and go to Christchurch to offer any support he could.
When he returned he called a meeting of all staff, and asked for a show of support and for help to lessen the financial burden on the Williams family.

He invited all the staff of EDI, and companies supplying the firm, to donate what they could to the Williams family.

And the support has been overwhelming, says Mr Stevenson.

“We have funds coming in from all directions,” he says.“Guys are making donations out of their pay packets every week, while others are making general donations from other parts of the company outside Paraparaumu.”

Details for donations

Mr Stevenson says others who want to donate can credit bank account number, 01- 0731- 0211231- 00 ANZ.

He says anyone donating from Australia should include the following code, ANZBNZ22

Mr Stevenson says a fundraising appeal is being organised with the “Jolly Miller” pub at Paraparaumu Beach on February 13 when there will be a band, barbeque and DJ with all proceeds going to Raka Jnr.

Download Flyer Here

Tickets can be purchased from the Downer EDI office (corner of SH1 and Ihakara Street), the Jolly Miller, Mazengarb Road, or they can be bought at the door on the night.

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