Appeal for Ocean successful
The Waihi mother of 3-year-old 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-year-old solo mother, needed to raise $85,000 to pay for life-changing surgery in the US for her daughter.
The surgery, scheduled for July, will help Ocean 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.
Kristen said thanks to community fundraising efforts, a Givealittlepage and an article in the Bay of Plenty Times on May 30, she has paid the bill.
The community's response to her plight had been “amazing” and overwhelmingly generous, she said.
“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 said.
That included a $5000 anonymous donation through the Givealittlepage which had so far raised $56,336, she said.
Kristen, who needed to pay for the surgery by June 15, said she paid $67,006 last Thursday 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 required 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, Kristen said.
“Ocean's right leg now rotates inwards, which affects her hips. It's only going to get worse unless she has surgery,” she said.
Waite said thanks to the “fantastic” ongoing fundraising efforts by the local community the amount needed for the postsurgery therapies was down to about $40,000.
That included auctioning off a child's playhouse and a trip to the Bay of Islands plus a Trivial Pursuit fundraiser at the Waihi Memorial RSA.
THREE-YEAR-OLD Ocean Stephen will travel to the US for surgery, thanks to generous donations.
KRISTEN Waite is thrilled her daughter Ocean can now have lifechanging surgery to help her walk unaided.