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DRAWING ON FAMILY STRENGTH

After Kaio Goncalves Portsmouth’s mother Julia was forced to spend more than four months away from home following the premature birth of his sister, the brave eight-year-old stepped up to help his family through. So Satan’s Little Helper decided to come up with a way to help Kaio draw the family closer together.

Owners of Victoria Lodge in Rotorua, Kaio’s father Ryan met Julia in her native Brazil. Now married, the couple have two other children – Luca (2) and Nina (five months). Ryan says that Nina was born 16 weeks premature and that Julia had to be airlifted from Rotorua to Waikato Hospital to give their daughter the best chance of survival. “It wasn’t a very easy time for any of us, but instead of complaining about being unable to see his mum, Kaio stepped up to help me look after Luca and run the motel,” says Ryan. “He was an amazing help and I couldn't hope for a better son – I am so proud of him.” Whether it was doing dishes, looking after his brother while Ryan worked or keeping an eye on the phone, Kaio was there to help. When Satan’s Little Helper heard about Kaio’s commitment to supporting his family, he decided that the budding young artist deserved an early Christmas present, assembling a small collection of art supplies to help him develop his talents. Nina, who was born weighing just 866 grams or 1.9 pounds at birth, returned home with her mother just before Father’s Day after undergoing multiple surgeries and having a shunt installed during a four-month long stay in hospital. Ryan says it feels great to have his family back together. “Obviously we’ve got a long road ahead, but I’m just so happy that we’re all together again and I get to enjoy spending time with Julia and Nina again. We’re all so proud of Kaio and look forward to seeing what he creates with his gift from Satan’s Little Helper.”

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