Extraordinary People

A true hero! Sick kids saved by war survivor who builds them hospital

Mark Dunajtschik gifted a whopping $50m personal donation

There are random acts of kindness, then they are immensely huge random acts of kindness.

And the incredible Mark Dunajtschik is worthy of global notoriety after his remarkable efforts to help save sick children by building them a hospital.

It’s no surprise really, given Dunajtschik’s own life story is one of extraordinary courage.

Having been a prisoner of war in WWII, he managed to flee Knicanin camp in Serbia where he was being held captive before fleeing his homeland formerly known as Yugoslavia.

[Credit: Wellington Children’s Hospital concept design]

Following his escape to Germany, Dunajtschik became an apprentice toolmaker that gifted him the skills to carve out a career for himself and restart his life.

Despite his new talents though, finding a place to call home in the post-war era was tough and he ended up bunking in a housing facility for the mentally and physically disabled.

“By utilising my expertise as a developer, we would be able to produce more real estate than if we were to just write out a cheque and leave the bureaucrats to build it.”

Mark Dunajtschik

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Dunajtschik explained that it was witnessing the daily challenges his housemates faced that inspired him to go on and help those less fortunate.

Fast-forward to present day, and Dunajtschik has combined his expertise as one of the most successful real estate developers in New Zealand with his desire for humanitarianism.

This is what led him to donate $50million (£26m) of his own money towards building a hospital for sick children so he can help them have a place to recover and hopefully flourish.

[Credit: Unsplash / Guillaume LeBelt]

Dunajtschik, now 85, explained: “After a conversation between my business partner and my life partner we decided, why not build it?

“By utilising my expertise as a developer, we would be able to produce more real estate than if we were to just write out a cheque and leave the bureaucrats to build it.”

He added: “Those people that are born with a healthy body and mind can look after themselves and those unfortunate to be born with, or suffering ill health, need our help.”

Meanwhile, Chair of the new Wellington Hospitals Foundation, Bill Day, said: “It’s exciting to see that in a little over a year the vision will be realised, and we will have a magnificent new purpose-built facility that will help generations of sick kids to come.”

Dunajtschik is somewhat of a local hero, having already financed the country’s Life Flight Trust service – an emergency helicopter charity that saves lives every day by operating air ambulances to rescue people and take them to hospital as quickly as possible.

We wonder, does the Queen gift MBEs to non-Brits? Either way, this guy needs one!

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