New Zealand Sevens’ Research Visit


Cure Kids are proud to be the charity partner of New Zealand Rugby and their national Sevens teams. We are very grateful they took time out of their busy schedules to spend time with our ambassadors and learn about our research.

New Zealand Women’s Sevens players Shiray Tane, Stacey Waaka, Jordon Webber and All Blacks Sevens players Beaudein Waaka, Lewis Ormond and Tim Mikkleson joined Cure Kids to learn about our skin engineering research at Auckland University and gave us some insight into the world of Sevens during a Q&A MC’d by our brave ambassador Jorja, who lives with burns.

Cure Kids has, for a number of years, funded ground-breaking research engineering full-thickness skin in a lab to improve the treatment of children who suffer from burns or scalds. Conventional treatment for burn victims is slow, painful and often fraught with risk of infection. Nearly 500 children are admitted to hospital for burns of varying severity each year and 80% of these are in children under five-years-old.

Professor Rod Dunbar and his team at the University of Auckland are growing full-thickness human skin in the lab using a patient’s own skin cells. A crucial issue in burns treatment is often the difficulty finding sufficient skin from non-burnt parts of a child’s body to treat the wound. This means painful and invasive grafts from healthy skin. Engineering full-thickness human skin from the patient’s own cells has the potential to greatly reduce these problems, and make for a less traumatising treatment path for the children who suffer these injuries.

For Cure Kids ambassador, Jorja Sharp, this research gives her and other burns survivors hope for significant improvement in treatment and recovery from their injuries.

“Cure Kids have been a huge part of my life and I absolutely love the work they do. Not only have they helped make my confidence grow and taken me into the Cure Kids family, they are doing vital research to help my condition, which will mean less operations that will be less painful. For me and my family it is great to know that they are working hard, so that the next child affected by burns doesn’t need to go through what I went through” – Jorja.