Lockdown Lovelies special gift for Waitākere Hospital

Friday 23 October, 2020
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well for two sisters from West Auckland who decided to use the fruits of their lockdown labour to make a positive difference for their local community hospital.

In February 2020, Robyn-Leigh Cascalheira, 11, was admitted to Rangatira Children’s Ward at Waitākere Hospital with Pneumonia. Scared and finding it hard to breathe, Robyn-Leigh was feeling anxious and worried about being unwell and in hospital, but the staff on the ward were there to help ease her worries.

“The nurses at the hospital were so kind and caring, encouraging me to get better, and also gave me yummy ice blocks everyday” – Robyn-Leigh Cascalheira

A chat with her Doctor showed Robyn-Leigh was feeling quite anxious about heading home so staff referred her to our Marinoto Child & Youth Mental Health team to help her work through some of her anxieties and get her home to make a full recovery.

Not long after Robyn-Leigh’s stay in hospital, New Zealand was put into COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and then in August came the second Auckland-wide Alert Level 3 restrictions. When this second lockdown happened, Robyn-Leigh & her sister Caitlin, 13 were asked by Dad, Steven to design and make him his very own mask to help keep him and others safe while he went to work. The girls realised there must be lots of people needing masks and started to ask themselves ‘how can we help?’.

With the help of Dad and his Facebook page, the girls started their business ‘Lockdown Lovelies’ to create masks and get them out to their community. When the question arose of how much to charge, the girls decided to let their customers choose what they wanted to pay for their product (after taking out time & materials) and it didn’t take long for this idea to take off!

“Our business went crazy and we ended up spending every day making masks and doing the ‘admin’ of our business like talking to our customers, checking our bank account and delivering masks. This became a full time job and soon our lounge became a production line for our masks.”

The sisters and their family were blown away by their success, earning more money than either Robyn-Leigh or Caitlin expected, but then they had to decide what to do with the business and the funds they had raised. Once Auckland moved to Alert Level 2, and the girls returned to school, they decided to pass their business on to their Granny, so they could focus on their schoolwork but still stay close to ‘Lockdown Lovelies’.  Robyn-Leigh and Caitlin pooled some of the money they had raised and decided to make a donation to Rangatira Children’s Ward at Waitākere Hospital, benefitting the ward and staff that had cared for Robyn-Leigh earlier in the year.

The girls donated over $700 to Rangatira and visited the ward to present a cheque and thank them once again for the amazing work they do. The Staff are hoping to spend the funds on some photography and artwork for the patient rooms to give them a more homely feel for kids just like Robyn-Leigh who are cared for on the ward. Dad, Steven started off the art collection with his very own donation of a piece he created during lockdown.

We are so delighted to be able to share this inspirational story of two very special young ladies! Thank you Robyn-Leigh & Caitlin, we are so grateful to you and look forward to seeing what your bright futures hold!

“I really appreciate everything that the Waitakere hospital children’s ward did for me and I am excited that through the business I have with my sister we are able to give back to the hospital.” – Robyn-Leigh Cascalheira

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