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Having a little sister is meant to be fun and exciting. For three-year-old Mya, it was scary and confusing.

That’s because her mum Annika had to stay in hospital for a month after giving birth to Mya’s baby sister Raelee. Mya tried to put on a brave face and act strong, but, at such a young age, it was tough to be away from her momma for that length of time. “Raelee wasn’t feeding properly when she was born,” explains Annika, “so she wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed. That led to other problems, like an ongoing thyroid issue that she still has weekly blood tests for. I remember once she wouldn’t wake up, which was very scary. They did a lumber puncture in her back and she didn’t even flinch! “Because Raelee was so sick, I needed to be there with her – but Mya had to be at home.” During that time Mya was doing shuttles between her grandparents. A trip to see your nanna is normally the highlight of the week, but under these circumstances, it was something else. “The time Mya spent away from me upset and confused her, because suddenly I wasn’t around. “Although she put on a brave face, it was really hard for her and she wasn’t the happiest kid during that time.” Thankfully Raelee is doing better now and her big sister is determined to be part of her road to recovery. “Mya helps in any way she can. As soon as her sis cries, Mya goes straight over to her and tells me how to handle it! She expects the best care for her sister,” chuckles Annika. To make up for her difficult finish to 2021, and to put a big grin back on her face, Satan’s Little Helper bought Mya and her family an annual pass to Orana Wildlife Park. “She loves animals and being outside, so she is in her element at Orana Park!” says Annika. “She had always talked about her desire to go to a zoo, but I never told her we had one in Christchurch because we couldn’t afford to go. “We surprised her with her first trip and when she saw where we were, she nearly lost it! We’ve gone twice in a week, but Mya still asks me every day if we can go.” “I was really excited,” says Mya. “It was such a big surprise. I saw lions and tigers, and I liked the zebras because they’re white and black. I also saw one big gorilla sulking against the window!”


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