Hundreds of irreplaceable photos of sick and disabled children were stolen after the home of Project KPH founder Leah Evans was burgled.
Mrs Evans and her family were on a rare holiday in Wellington when they got a call to say their house on Rimuvale St had been broken into, either on Friday night or Saturday morning.
She and her husband drove back home straight away to survey the damage.
Mrs Evans said her laptop computer had been stolen. The laptop contained photos of the children she had worked with at Project KPH, a charity that aims to help sick, disabled or children with special needs to achieve their goals.
This included pictures of Zahnee Riley-Campbell, a 7-year-old The Daily Post talked to in December after Mrs Evans helped her to write and publish her own book.
Zahnee was born with a big birthmark across her face, eyes and nose and also had problems eating, walking and doing things normally. She also suffers from Asperger's syndrome and phaces syndrome.
Mrs Evans said the thieves had even taken a necklace given to her by Zahnee.
"They ransacked everything, Zahnee had given me a beautiful, dainty sterling silver heart necklace that had little diamonds in it and a matching pair of earrings - they found that and stole it. They've basically taken anything of value that they can carry, including the laptop. Because I work from home, that is my entire office. Six years' worth of my career and the charity work I did, including the pictures of over 100 kids that I've worked with and pictures of my own kids."
Mrs Evans did have a back up of the photos on two separate external hard drives - but the thieves also found those hidden in some drawers and took them as well.
She also had other important files stored on the devices including business information and documents from her university studies, which were irreplaceable.
Also stolen were two mountain bikes.
On a positive note, Mrs Evans had feared the worst had happened to her small Jack Russell terrier Sophie, who was not at home when they returned from Wellington but was pleased to hear the dog had been picked up by animal control officers when she was found wandering on Sunset Rd on Saturday. The dog was returned home on Sunday afternoon.
Mrs Evans said the police had been great and the officer who visited them had spent hours at the house investigating and taking fingerprints.
Mrs Evans had also had some "serious security" installed in the home to ensure this would never happen again.
She said she was hoping the thieves would hear her story and said if even just one of the hard drives was returned, she would accept it with no questions asked.