Sup­port for tod­dler ‘in­cred­i­ble’

Waihi Leader - - News - By SAN­DRA CONCHIE

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.

PHOTO/FILE.

Kris­ten Waite and her daugh­ter Ocean Stephen, 3, who suf­fers from spas­tic diple­gia cere­bral palsy are off to Amer­ica for lifechang­ing surgery.

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