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Porscha gives gift of reading

A kind-hearted Masterton teen hopes her gift to Wairarapa Hospital will bring comfort and much-needed distraction to sick children – and also inspire a life-long love of reading.

With savings from working extra hours over the school holidays, 17-year-old Porscha Futter bought close to $1000 worth of children’s books – which she later donated to the hospital’s paediatric ward.

Supported by Paper Plus Masterton, Porscha selected a miniature library for young readers – from classic picture books like The Tiger Who Came to Tea, The Gruffalo, and Where’s Wally? to universally popular page-turners from Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss.

She presented the books to the ward earlier this month, where they were excitedly received by staff and patients alike.

Porscha, a Wairarapa College student and children’s swimming teacher, said she was inspired to “give something back” to the hospital after losing a close friend – a regular visitor to the paediatric ward – to cancer last year.

It was also an opportunity for Porscha, a voracious reader from childhood, to share her love of the printed word with Wairarapa youngsters.

“For young people, everything’s all about screens and social media – so they might not get the same opportunities to read as I did,” she said.

“I wanted to help kids fall in love with reading and books like I did when I was young. I thought it would be awesome to share all my old favourites with them.

“And also, reading a book can be a good distraction when you’re sick and going through something so huge.”

At her tender age, it’s clear Porscha is a community-minded individual. As Head of Service at WaiCol, she is responsible for the school’s community projects, such as Students Against Dangerous Driving and the Student Volunteer Army, and is also a regular volunteer at the annual Breadcraft Kids’ Triathlon.

Nevertheless, her gesture initially took her family by surprise.

“I thought at first she was saving up for a new iPhone, or some clothes,” mum Marina Sanders said.

“Young people can be a bit selfish with their money – but she proved me wrong!

“When I asked her about it, she said she wanted to give the children something she finds comforting. Porscha couldn’t help them get better, but she could help by giving them an escape – through reading and their imagination.”

When selecting the books, Porscha was assisted by “super supportive” Paper Plus owners Selina Griggs and Richard Hamilton – who provided a discount and several items free of charge.

She made sure the collection included books suitable for various reading levels, as well as several of the titles that shaped her formative years.

“I wanted to include the ones my parents read to me – like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

“And, for older kids, series like Geronimo Stilton and Harry Potter.”

Porscha said the ward staff, including charge nurse manager Tess Geard, were “so excited” to receive their new library.

“We saw the books they had already, and they looked pretty old,” she said.

“It’ll be nice for the kids to have some new books – and it’s one less thing for the staff to worry about. They do so much for everyone.”

“Porscha’s very generous donation will put smiles on the faces of many children of all ages,” Geard added.

“On behalf of paediatrics at Te Whatu Ora Wairarapa, my sincere thanks.”

This is the hospital’s second recent donation from a young person – last year, Chanel College pupil Bridie Croucher raised funds for a new fridge for the paediatric ward.

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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