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Hauraki youngster heads to US for surgery

Flagstaff Team

Four-year-old Lydia Golding, who needs surgery to correct a birth defect, has a lifetime collection of prosthetic lower legs, but the first of five operations will seek to have her walking with two feet on the ground.

Community donations are helping Hauraki four-year-old Lydia Golding travel to Florida with her family for much-needed surgery.

Lydia was born with a rare non-hereditary birth defect, proximal femoral focal deficiency. The condition has left her with an unformed hip and shortened right leg.

Earlier this year, Lydia’s mother Lauren Golding discovered an alternative surgery to improve her daughter’s hip and lengthen her leg. The lengthening surgery is Lydia’s only hope of ever having her two feet on the ground and walking.

To get her to the Paley Institute in Florida, her family has faced rising airline ticket prices, isolation, accommodation and medication costs on top of Lydia’s $300,000 surgery.

Florida has been badly hit by Covid-19, with 700,000 confirmed cases, but Lydia’s surgery cannot be delayed any longer.

“It’s definitely not the best time to be travelling,” says Golding. “I think the part that scares me the most is the stopovers in airports. But I know once we are there, we can isolate ourselves.”

Prices of flights have doubled because of Covid-19.

The family, including Golding’s husband and one-year-old daughter Rose, had previously booked tickets with United Airlines, sitting on $4000-worth before the airline cancelled its New Zealand flights.

Now the same journey is costing $7500. They are hoping to get an exemption from proposed isolation costs when they return home to Auckland.

“I’ve always said I would love to go live in the States for a year. But I did not think it would be under these circumstances or that we would have to isolate,” says Golding.

Lydia will need five surgeries before she is 16.

Seeking help from the community, the family has raised $72,400 towards a $500,000 goal.

“We have been so thankful for the people who have generously donated to help Lydia. I can’t believe how much support we have received and it has really blown me away,” says Golding.

“Lydia has an absolute heart of gold, an infectious smile, and melts people’s hearts. “Donations will go towards achieving the very best outcome for our brave little girl, to fulfil her dream of walking with her own two feet.”


This article originally appeared in the 23 October 2020 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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