Giving back to Starship

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GRATITUDE: Pictured holding their children are Kirsten and Arthur Grigg, with Harrison and Woodrow respectively. They are with Arthur’s parents Paul and Sara Grigg (left), also of Surrey Hills Station, and Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains members Allan Lill and Philip Young (right). Photo supplied.
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Today Harrison Grigg of Mt Somers is seven-months-old and a happy and healthy boy.

But he had a tumultuous start to life.

When his mum Kirsten was pregnant, she and husband Arthur learned their baby would need urgent surgery immediately after birth.

Harrison had a rare lifethreatening congenital condition, called transposition of the great arteries. TGA is a heart defect that occurs when the two main blood vessels leaving the heart are in abnormal positions.

At five-days-old baby Harrison had an eight-hour operation, during which his heart was run by a machine, at Starship Hospital in Auckland.

‘‘It was a pretty harrowing time,’’ Arthur said. ‘‘It was major in the sense that it was open heart surgery, but we were told if you are going to have a heart defect that was the one to have because the prognosis was good and it was reasonably straight forward. We are very, very lucky,’’ he said.

Harrison Grigg had open heart surgery at the age of five days.

Harrison, a little brother to their other son Woodrow, came through the surgery well.

Arthur and Kirsten were grateful for the wonders of modern medicine, and that New Zealand had a worldleading paediatric care facility in Starship.

‘‘It was mind blowing really, what they can do and what they can achieve.’’

Recently they were approached by Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains which was wanting to bring a car rally to their home, Surrey Hills Station.

When asked by club members what charity the Griggs would like to support from funds raised at the rally, they said the Starship Foundation.

The Starship Classic Car Rally involved 166 cars, which travelled from Ashburton. It raised $5000.

Spokesperson Allan Lill said the rally had been a great success. Prizes were given to category winners after a picnic lunch on a magnificent day at the station. Paul Grigg spoke on the station’s operation and its family history.