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“No one wants to see their child struggle and Ronald McDonald House South Island offer much needed support through this time.” – Holly Robinson

The power of gratitude

In a year desperate for good news stories one of New Zealand’s top athletes certainly overdelivered.

Photo by Alisha Lovrich

Hokitika-raised, Dunedin-based Javelin thrower Holly Robinson made history in March when she became the first Para athlete to win a medal in an open event at the NZ Track and Field Championships, taking silver in the women’s javelin. Then, in a career highlight, she won gold at her third Paralympics in the Women’s Javelin F46 in Tokyo.

Next though, it was how the 26-year-old reacted immediately after winning gold that made headlines.

Before basking in too much glory of her own, Holly did what she says she has always done, and made a point to thank each and every official associated with the event.

This selfless act of gratitude earned Holly a nomination for the global Visa Award, which highlights moments from the Paralympics that rise above the competition. After a worldwide fan vote, Holly was announced the winner and given the opportunity to choose a charity to which Visa would donate $50,000 USD. That charity was Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI).


Photo by Alisha Lovrich

Holly took some time out between training and her work as a teacher aide for students with diverse needs, to share with us why she supports RMHSI and how it feels to have a single moment of gratitude turned into invaluable support for hundreds of families with children in hospital.

How did you feel when you were announced the global Visa Award winner?
It was a huge honour just to be [one of six] nominated. I never thought a small act like thanking the officials, which is something that I always do, would result in something as significant as this. It’s a very Kiwi thing and I know many of the other athletes in the New Zealand team do this also. I was very shocked, but proud that my moment won.

Can you tell us a bit more about why RMHSI is the charity of your choice?
I believe every family deserves support during what can be some of the most challenging times of their life. No one wants to see their child struggle and RMHSI offer much needed support through this time. I grew up with congenital limb reduction and my family were very lucky to have support to help us get by. Many of my family, friends, and students that I work with have used RMHSI and they all have only amazing things to say about it.

It’s been a huge year for you, how does it feel to be able to give back in this way?
It feels incredible to be able to give back. A huge thank you to Visa and to everyone who voted. I know what a huge difference the donation will make to the families and hope it can also highlight how a little gratitude can go a long way.


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