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Latoya 1

Giving Latoiya the Princess Treatment

Latoiya O’Brien has terminal brain cancer.

But the six-year-old can light up a room with just her laugh. She greets newcomers to her home with a high-five and a smile, happy to entertain new guests.

Latoiya was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in May this year and spent time in Starship Hospital before returning home to New Plymouth two weeks ago, to be with family.

“Nanny” Debbie Hotene said at a time when it was hard to smile, the charity Little Fighters Trust came to their rescue, sending pretty dresses and an iPad loaded with games to Latoiya’s bedside at Starship.

The Trust also helped kit out Latoiya’s bedroom to make it fit for their princess.

Sitting in their New Plymouth home, Hotene offered a sincere thank you to the Trust’s Sarah Silver, for what they had done for her family.

“Thank you for making her smile and making me smile with her.”

The Trust was established three years ago to brighten up an otherwise gloomy time, for kids suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

The Trust is holding an auction on August 22, with the hopes of raising $20,000 to go towards helping these kids and their families get through.

“We should never have to say no to these kids,” Silver said.

On August 6 Trust volunteers will be “taking to the streets” of New Plymouth, collecting donations for the auction from any businesses who want to contribute.

Latoiya’s aunty Stephanie Hotene said the Trust contacted the family after they posted about their journey on Facebook.

The Trust’s contributions to the family have been so important to creating a happy and positive environment, in what was a really difficult time, she said.