Neurological Foundation - Chair of Neurosurgery

Oamaru Woman suggests gifting Leap Day pay

February 2012

An Oamaru woman is urging people to give a portion of the extra day they work for leap year to the neurosurgery fundraising campaign.

Judy Stevenson said Wednesday, leap day, was a "bonus", as it only cropped up once every four years.

The part-time learning tutor, caregiver and rest-home activity organiser, who has a degree in psychology, said the chair in neurosurgery offered exciting research possibilities for the University of Otago.

It seemed fitting that the extra day in a leap year, which corrected a scientific anomaly, be used to raise funds for science, she said.

Many conditions, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, addictions obesity, and attention-deficit disorders stood to gain from the neurosurgical centre of excellence, she said.

In addition, raising the $3 million would ensure Dunedin had three neurosurgeons.

People in Oamaru would rather travel to Dunedin than Christchurch for essential services like neurosurgery, she said. However, the neurosurgery fundraising campaign had not gained traction in Oamaru, she believed.

In contrast, the first campaign, in 2010, to retain neurosurgery in Dunedin was very high-profile in Oamaru.

There were many demands on people's money, including giving for the Christchurch earthquakes, she said.

Ms Stevenson plans to set up a stand outside the Otago Daily Times office in Oamaru on Wednesday from 10am.

People could give a portion of their wages for the day, or even their entire day's wage.

Campaign project manager Irene Mosley said the leap year idea was an example of how the community was driving the campaign. People were approaching the fundraising team with lots of ideas, she said.

Despite the campaign not having quite as much presence in North Otago, she noted the Waitaki Rotary Club had given $500.

Yesterday afternoon, the appeal tally had reached $1.53 million.