Skip to content

Meet Nana Marie Jujnovich - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Healing nana hugs

Heart Kids Auckland
Dedicated. Loving. Caring

Hospital volunteer Nana Marie Jujnovich has spent 30 years at Heart Kids Auckland supporting families during their most challenging times.

Nana Marie is 85 but still spends every Tuesday and Thursday on the cardiology ward of the Starship Hospital, fulfilling the charity’s aim of supporting families and children undergoing open-heart surgery or experiencing heart complications.

After cleaning and stocking the ward kitchen, she starts her rounds, checking in with every family and lighting up the mood in every room she enters.

When families are not up for conversation, she is a comforting presence, offering a hug or a hand to hold. Whenever possible, she is by their side when their children undergo procedures.

Nana Marie started with the charity after her grandson was born with congenital heart disease and has found sharing her own experience is a big help to families.

Her greatest reward is the opportunity to watch fragile babies grow into amazing adults. Sadly, her biggest challenge is bereavement support.

Nana Marie is proud to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “I will always be there for the families. Little people and their parents need someone to talk who won’t walk away when things get tough.”

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Heart Kids Auckland will use its funds to pay for pre-made meals and events to support families.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here