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$45k surprise for youngster

Eli Honeysett [centre] and his family with Keinzley Agvet staff after reaching the $45,000 target for his new 4×4 wheelchair. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

Eli grateful for the ‘really big cheque’

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Wairarapa youngster Eli Honeysett and his family received a Christmas surprise after a huge community effort.

A fundraiser for an all-terrain wheelchair for the nine-year-old Kahutara boy hit its $45,000 target just in time for the festive period.

Eli lives on his family farm with parents Matt and Tracey, twin Isaac, and younger brother Jesse.

He spent 10 months in Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland where was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis, a rare disease that impact the spinal cord, causing loss of muscle tone and reflexes as well as respiratory failure in severe cases.

He also stayed at Wairarapa Hospital for an extended spell.

A Wairarapa-wide campaign raised money at this year’s A and P show, a host of sporting events, and people even turned up to major donor Carterton’s Keinzley Agvet store with cash in hand.

Eli Honeysett, 9, was thankful for the community’s donations. PHOTO/FILE

Tracey Honeysett said she was “blown away” by the community’s support.

“It’s amazing news for us.

“We’ve just been consistently blown away by the kindness of strangers to do these things to help us.

“It’s really good now we can order [the all-terrain wheelchair] and Eli can have some say on the designs.

“Hopefully, it won’t be too far away now from when he can use it.”

The Honeysetts will work with Carterton’s Evolved Performance company to develop a suitable design.

“It’s pretty specific what Eli needs,” his mother said.

“Because he can’t support himself, he needs quite good seating.

“The current computer system he has and the powerchair will be moved across so he can drive the chair himself.

“It’s really exciting and it’s so good we’ve been able to do a lot of it locally.

“It’s great we can put a lot of it back into the community.”

Keinzley Agvet managing director Phil Keinzley said the area had come together to help a local farming family.

“It allows them now to go ahead and get the wheelchair and get it set up. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much the community, in general, have come together.”

On receiving the news, Eli was grateful for the “really big cheque”.

He is still weighing up whether he wanted a camouflage or flame design.


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