Topic: Health

Young Destiny is going to America

By Te Kāea
  • Auckland
Destiny's desire to walk - Photo / supplied

She did it with your help!  Six-year-old girl Destiny (Ngāpuhi) and mum Marlene have managed to raise $100,000 needed for a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation in America, to help improve her chances to walk independently.

Destiny was born prematurely at 29 weeks as a result of domestic violence.  She has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk on her own unaided.

In May 2014, Destiny was accepted for surgery in the US, and Marlene says fundraising kicked off shortly after in June.

The cost of surgery absorbs most of the $100,000 raised, then there's the airfares for Destiny and mum, accommodation for six weeks, insurance and food.

Marlene says never in a million years did they think they would reach the $100,000 target.  As one would imagine, it was a very surreal and emotional day.

She says that, "It was a dream goal we set and we gave ourselves a year to come up with as much of the $100,000 that we could.

We have had so many amazing people get in behind us, those who helped with fundraisers, those who shared the story, those who donated - we have been truly blessed."

Marlene goes on to say that, "Some people would say "I can only give a $1", and I would say, "Awesome, that is another step closer to the States!"

Destiny will be the first Māori from Aotearoa to go to America for this surgery.

A few other New Zealanders have already undergone the same surgery, and there are currently three candidates fundraising for their operation opportunities.

Destiny's desire to walk - Photo / supplied

Unfortunately none of the much-needed after care therapy for Destiny, upon their return home from America, is funded either.

Therefore her whānau will continue to fundraise a further $25,000 to cover the intense physical therapy.  Marlene explains that, "The more intense therapy we put in, the better the outcome will be for her."

Destiny has a long road ahead, and to be clear, she will not come back to NZ walking.  Doctors estimate that around 18 months after surgery, the most gain will be seen.

Marlene says, "So many people have got in behind us and supported us, (that) it's too hard to thank them all individually."  That she wants, "To say a big heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you, as without you, Destiny's dream would not be coming true."

If you would like to help Destiny in her desire to walk again, click here to donate to her Give-a-Little page, or check out her other fundraising events on her facebook page here.