Monday, December 31, 2007

Not all families spending time together at Christmas

Not all families spending time together at Christmas
25-Dec 20:10
The Milne family

While Christmas is generally the time of year when families get together to celebrate the festive season, some families are kept apart for reasons they cannot control or even predict.

A shortage of paediatric oncologists in Wellington means 2-year-old Kyah Milne and her family are spending Christmas Day in Christchurch’s Ronald McDonald House.

“Our normal Christmases are usually spent up north and they are very big occasions,” Jason Milne told 3 News. “It’s a bit quiet this year, we miss the old Christmases but this one is different.”

The Milnes are one of three Wellington families spending the festive season down south.

They hope that by next Christmas, Wellington’s paediatric cancer ward will have enough staff so other families like theirs can be together for Christmas.

Kyah has been in Christchurch Hospital since July, but was released yesterday.

“That was our best Christmas presenter ever,” Mr Milne said. “She’s been in hospital for quite a while and she got released yesterday until the 3rd of January.”

Families are also separated by tensions abroad.

400 Defence Force personnel are serving overseas this Christmas.

One of them is Graham Foleni. He is currently posted in East Timor and is missing out on a traditional Rarotongan Christmas back home.

“I think he’ll be missing the raw fish and all his island foods,” his father Leva said.

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