"Ella would be so proud."
Jane Thompson stood in the atrium of Starship children’s hospital at the opening of Ella’s Cuddle Corner on Wednesday and spoke about her beautiful little girl who had loved animals.
In 2003, five-year-old Ella Mackie died of an inoperable brain tumour.
"The prognosis was days, weeks or months," Mrs Thompson says.
Knowing they only had a short time left with Ella, her family did all they could for her.
"Anything she asked for, we gave her." That included bringing Kevin into Starship. Kevin was the family’s much-loved cat.
They managed to smuggle him in, and Ella’s health temporarily improved.
"It meant a lot to her, although she was very sick. It made her feel a lot better," Mrs Thompson says.
Ella died on February 26, 2003, and seven years later her legacy lives on in Ella’s Cuddle Corner.
Mrs Thompson has been working towards this since Ella died.
Now in the atrium there is an area where Starship’s long-term and critically ill patients can spend time with their pets.