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Supporting free ambulance in style

First Health and Wellness Centre registered nurse Donna Campbell [fox], practice manager Neeri Ramchundar [hearts], and clinical services director Trish Wilkinson [stars] get into the spirit of this year’s Onesie Day. PHOTO/TOM TAYLOR

TOM TAYLOR
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Schools, businesses, and community organisations have been getting comfortable over the past couple of days to show their support for the region’s ambulance service.

Locals participated in Wellington Free Ambulance’s annual Onesie Day fundraising event in a mainly virtual fashion after the covid-19 lockdown pushed the event online.

Greytown School’s Room 1 on a Zoom call in their onesies. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Greytown School pupils joined in the fun on Thursday, whether at home or on-site in the school’s three bubble classes.

“We had onesies of all shapes and sizes from cows to Gruffalos, dogs to zebras, superheroes to Sesame Street characters,” principal Patrice O’Connor said. “You name it, I am sure someone wore it for the day.”

O’Connor said Greytown School supported WFA’s fundraiser every year.

“This year was just the same, but in a slightly different format during lockdown.”

Pupils got into their onesies for Zoom classes, or sent in their pictures for display on the school’s Facebook page.

Meanwhile, staff at First Health and Wellness Centre in Lansdowne wore their onesies to work. Practice manager Neeri Ramchundar said the day was a reason to celebrate and raise awareness of the work WFA did in the community.

“It just gets people talking about it, and that’s exactly what everyone needs – especially in these difficult times, and especially for these organisations that depend on fundraising.”

The health centre had met WFA to discuss the installation of an AED [automated external defibrillator] for the Lansdowne community and businesses.

The Lansdowne Residents Association had agreed to fund the AED, and the health centre would run courses with Wairarapa Hospital to teach business owners how to use the device.

Ramchundar said WFA often helped to facilitate community initiatives such as AEDs.

“They have been so supportive of the entire community in Wairarapa. The more people who support them, the more efficient a service they will be able to run.”

Although the health centre could not collect donations in buckets like it usually did, people could still make donations online.

The health centre had contributed $100 and was doing its part to promote the service.

“I think that somehow, the lockdown has actually brought a little more awareness to Onesie Day. There are a lot more people talking about it on social media.”

WFA was the only free ambulance service in the Southern Hemisphere and had provided an emergency ambulance service since 1927. Staff responded to more than 58,000 patients and answered more than 107,000 calls for help each year.

WFA’s target of $250,000 would provide a new, fully-kitted Onesie Day-branded ambulance for Wellington and Wairarapa.

Onesie Day had raised more than $137,000 by the time of publication, with many donations still rolling in.

Visit onesieday.co.nz to donate.

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