Helping world’s poorest living with disabilities
Paddy Walsh can do all the things she loves.
She can run around with her friends, play netball and swim – all thanks to medical intervention.
Paddy, 10, was born with one leg noticeably shorter than the other. It’s called fibular hemimelia, which is partial or total absence of the thinner of the two long bones in the lower leg.
Her parents faced a tough choice, between a leg lengthening procedure or partial amputation of the leg and/or foot.
‘‘The procedure for lengthening the leg was horrific and Paddy would have had to have it done three times,’’ her mother Lizzie Walsh says.
‘‘We felt it would be too traumatic so decided on amputation and a prosthetic. We’ve never regretted the decision.’’
This year the bubbly youngster was the face of cbm New Zealand, a Christian organisation that focuses on improving the quality of life for the world’s poorest people living with disabilities.
Walsh says it was something the family connected strongly with because of the pivotal role New Zealand’s medical system has played in making Paddy’s life as normal as it could possibly be.
‘‘Paddy gets a new prosthetic every year. I just have to ring up the limb centre and then we see a doctor,’’ she says.
‘‘There are kids out there that don’t have what we have and can’t live like Paddy.’’
She says her daughter inspiration.
‘‘Paddy has normalised it – that is why she has a colourful prosthetic because we don’t want to try and hide that.
‘‘She just gets on with it and does everything.’’
Paddy says learning about Laxmi, a Nepalese girl who has a similar disability, gave her a new appreciation for her prosthetic leg.
‘‘I felt really sad for her,’’ Paddy says. ‘‘Because of her leg she had been crawling to school.’’
The Mt Eden youngster says knowing that Laxmi has now received a prosthetic means the world to her.
‘‘Nobody should through that.’’
National director of cbm Darren Ward says with Paddy’s help they have raised enough to help nearly 60 children in the poorest countries living with the double disadvantage of poverty and disability.
‘‘She is a remarkable person, not just for what she achieves through sport and music, but also because of her willingness to publicly challenge Kiwis to help people with disabilities who live in the poorest countries of the world.’’
Paddy was thanked for her efforts at a special presentation at Mt Eden Normal Primary School on December 5.
Inspirational girl: This year Paddy Walsh, 10, has been the face of cbm, an organisation that helps the world’s poorest people living with disabilities.