Support for toddler ‘incredible’
The Waihi mother of 3-yearold Ocean Stephen says she’s blown away by the “incredible” support from the community which has helped get her daughter to America.
Kristen Waite, a 36-yearold solo mother needed to raise $85,000 to pay for lifechanging surgery in the US for her daughter scheduled for July to help her walk unaided.
At 14 months Ocean was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy which causes spasticity in her leg muscles, making walking and standing difficult and often painful.
Thanks to community fundraising efforts, a Givealittlepage, and an article in the Bay of Plenty Times on May 30, she has now been able to pay the bill.
The community’s response to her plight had been “amazing “and overwhelmingly generous, she says.
“Within two days of my Facebook post and the Bay of Plenty Times’ article about Ocean we had 40 donations, and the donations and offers of help to raise funds keep coming,” she says.
That included a $5000 anonymous donation through the Givealittlepage which had so far raised $56,336.
Waite, who needed to pay for the surgery by June 15, said she paid $67,006 last week and has another $18,464 in her bank to pay for other therapy treatments while in the US.
She also had the $4000 needed to cover most of the costs of food, accommodation and transport costs while she and Ocean were in Missouri.
Post operation another $50,000 was needed to pay for the five-days-a-week intensive therapies Ocean would need for the next two years.
As Ocean’s body grows the spasticity is getting rapidly worse and prevents the bones from forming and growing, so starts to cause deformities in the joints, she says.
“Ocean’s right leg now rotates inwards, which affects her hips. It’s only going to get worse unless she has surgery.”
Waite says thanks to the “fantastic” ongoing fundraising efforts by the local community the amount needed for the post-surgery therapies was down to about $40,000.
That included auctioning off a child’s playhouse and a trip to the Bay of Island plus a trivial pursuits fundraiser at the Waihi Memorial RSA.
Kristen Waite and her daughter Ocean Stephen, 3, who suffers from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy are off to America for lifechanging surgery.