Netball-a-thon to raise funds for team-mate’s surgery

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All for one: Southland Girls' High School Year 8 A netball coach Karen Skerrett (from left), players Lupe Vehekite, Rylee Forbes-Murch, Siahn Nilsen, Darnae Lowe-McPherson, (all 13), Greer Morresey, Carlie Scherp, (both 12), assistant coach Anna Skerrett, Jade Rausch (front left), Phoebe McIntyre, (both 13), and Khalia Sherriff (12). Photo: Supplied to raise funds for team-mate's scoliosis surgery

WHEN 13-year-old Darnae Lowe-McPherson told her netball team she had been diagnosed with severe Idiopathic Scoliosis, their only question was, “How can we help?”

“What an amazing bunch of girls, they support each other and all get on so well. The girls all hugged her and asked what they could do for her,” coach Karen Skerrett said.

Idiopathic Scoliosis is a condition characterised by abnormal curvature of the spine, which can cause back pain, balance and co-ordination problems, breathing difficulties and cardiovascular issues.

After Darnae’s scoliosis was rendered too severe to operate on in New Zealand, her family reached out to Anterior Scoliosis Correction specialist Dr Olaverri in Barcelona, Spain.

She had since received her operation on September 5, and was still in Barcelona with her family recovering before being cleared to fly home, Mrs Skerrett said.

However, the cost of the surgery alone was almost $86,000 – excluding the cost of flights and accommodation for the eight-week trip, she said.

Mrs Skerrett, along with a mother of one of the players, Vanessa Sherriff, started brainstorming ideas with the team to find a way to help.

The result? A 12-hour netball-a-thon.

“We’re going to try and set a Southland record for the longest game of netball, we’ll have rolling non-stop subs on for 10 minutes each from 8am to 8pm,” Mrs Sherriff said.

Southland businesses had rallied around the Southland Girls’ High School Year 8 A team to make the idea a reality.

“ILT Stadium Southland has come to the party and provided courts for us to use for free, we’ve had a huge amount of support, we didn’t expect it to get so big.”

A corporate event, teams events, and celebrity games would be played throughout the day – with spot prizes and a raffle.

Mrs Sherriff said school teams were also encouraged to get involved in the event, which would be held at the stadium on Sunday, October 6.

Tickets cost $5 per player from ILT Stadium Southland. For more information email centre.manager@invercargillnetball.co.nz, karen@insidesystems.co.nz, or vsherriff@stpatinv.school.nz.

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