West Melton’s Maddie Collins has been named Satan’s Biggest Little Helper for 2018 for her initiative in making pillowslips for fellow patients of Starship Hospital and the children’s ward of Christchurch Hospital. Over an eight-year period, while battling a rare kidney disease, Maddie made over 1,000 patterned pillowslips to help brighten the lives of other kids going through hell.
To recognise her achievement, HELL invited Maddie and her mother Sarah to Wellington for an all-expenses paid trip, including one night’s stay at the QT Museum Hotel and tickets to the invite-only, HELL-sponsored final dress rehearsal of the Jim Henson Retrospectacle. The award presentation took place at the Museum Hotel, followed by High Tea. Presenting on behalf of the HELL team, HELL marketing manager Jason Buckley said they were all very proud of Maddie and described her as a worthy winner. “Maddie was an incredibly worthy winner of Satan’s Biggest Little Helper this year,” said Buckley. “She has shown creativity, dedication and community spirit, even while battling with her own condition.” The inaugural SBLH award was established in 2017 on the back of HELL’s Satan’s Little Helper (SLH) programme, which has been running since 2013 with the aim of giving a ‘boost’ to Kiwi youth “who are going through or have been through hell”. “In the course of receiving SLH nominations from friends or relatives of young Kiwis having a rough time, some exceptional individuals came to our attention,” said HELL general manager Ben Cumming. “We realised that there are a number of young people out there going above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others, some of them even while facing difficulties of their own. “So we established Satan’s Biggest Little Helper of the Year to acknowledge those under 23-year-olds who have helped or are helping create a better future for others, and we’re all extremely proud to award the second title to Maddie – she’s an inspiring young lady.” On receiving the award, Maddie said: “I’m very grateful for this award and just hope that I managed to brighten up the hospital visits of other kids like me.” Maddie’s story In 2009, Maddie was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) – a rare disease that affects kidney function by attacking and damaging the glomeruli (tiny blood-filtration units). This meant she had to spend up to 11 hours a day hooked up to a dialysis machine. In 2012, Maddie underwent transplant surgery using a kidney donated by her father. However, her body rejected the organ. With the promise of a potential cure in Baltimore, Maddie began making and selling pillowslips to raise funds for the trip. The slips were then donated to other children on the wards. “They all loved them, because it helped personalise their time in hospital,” said Maddie’s mum Sarah. “After they left, they got to keep them and now they’ve ended up all over the world.” Maddie received a new kidney earlier this year – the chances of which doctors had previously rated at around 2% – meaning the family no longer needs to make the trip to Baltimore. Funds raised so far from Maddie’s pillowslips are helping cover ongoing medical costs. Doctors are hopeful that Maddie will make a full recovery. To find out how HELL helped Maddie in her fundraising venture, click here.