New Zealanders have embraced Ruby Seeto’s latest tea towel design, snapping up nearly 10,000 ‘Watermelon ice pops for Starship’ tea towels and aprons to support Kiwi children and their families. Produced in collaboration with Wallace Cotton, the campaign has raised $59,412 for our national children’s hospital in the past year. Ruby was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at age 9 and has designed a fundraising tea towel every year since 2007.

Money raised from the sale of the latest tea towels has enabled the establishment of an ovarian tissue cryopreservation banking protocol for New Zealand Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Services, to benefit young cancer patients. This means the option of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and storage is now available to all eligible girls within a nationally available and approved programme.

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation is the only means of preserving fertility for pre-pubertal girls who are at high risk of infertility related to cancer treatment. While international and New Zealand recommendations are that this technology be made available to girls in this high risk group, it is not currently funded in New Zealand.

“It’s so great to see this funding enabling the talented Starship staff to deliver the important work around ovarian tissue cryopreservation to ensure no children are disadvantaged by their cancer treatment,” said Brad Clark, Chief Executive of the Starship Foundation. “To have raised more than $450,000 to date is an exceptional result. We can’t wait to see what Ruby comes up with next year!”

The tea towels ($10), aprons ($15) and a black and white tea towel with coloured markers ($16) are still available to purchase in-store and online at www.wallacecotton.com. They are 100% cotton and $6 from every sale (all the proceeds after costs) goes to the Starship Foundation.