Dr Anae Neru Leavasa knows Middlemore Hospital all too well.
It is a place that has played a large part in his life with some hard memories and also some great ones over the years, he says.
At the tender age of 14, Neru was diagnosed with bone cancer and says he practically grew up in Middlemore Hospital during the numerous treatments and surgeries he went through.
“It all started at Middlemore - the doctors and nurses there inspired a desire in me to want to help people,” says Neru.
Despite still undergoing surgeries, in 2003 Neru went on to study Medicine at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, and graduated.
“I always say that before I was a professional doctor, I was a professional patient. I have experienced things from both sides and that gave me a special insight.”
In 2009, Neru once again returned to Middlemore Hospital, completing his student placement and junior doctor years here before heading to become a GP in South Auckland.
“I enjoyed working at Middlemore. Our clinical teams were like whaanau and we all wanted the best for our patients.
“Middlemore has definitely played a huge role in my life and now I live just down the road from there,” he laughs.
Despite the challenges he had to overcome, Neru set out to achieve what he wanted – to help people and he is now Labour MP for Takanini and came into this role from his desire to help lift health outcomes on a broader platform.
On 23 April 2022, just over a week before our 75th anniversary, Neru was once again walking the corridors of Middlemore Hospital, this time as he became a proud father of a baby girl, an experience he shared on his social media.
“I just want to say a huge thank you to the team at Middlemore who helped deliver our baby. Everyone was so great and we get to leave the hospital today feeling blessed. Mum and baby are doing well. Keep up the great work Middlemore.”
Image: Neru walking through the halls at Middlemore Hospital