Plucky Mt Eden student fronts national fundraiser
Posted by Fleur Revell
Ten year old Aucklander, Paddy Welsh fronts cbm’s campaign to help disadvantaged children with disabilities in third world countries. For Paddy, losing her leg at 4 years old has made her passionate about the cause, but has done nothing to stop her love of life and sports.
The 10-year-old Mt Eden Normal Primary School student is a bright, chatty, active youngster who loves school, music and more than anything else, sports.
A goal shooter in her school netball team, she also swims and dances, is learning to play the piano and fully participates in school activities. Right now she’s also fronting a national fundraising campaign, alongside Silver Ferns defender Leana de Bruin, to help disadvantaged children with disabilities in third world countries.
FACEUP4cbm campaign, an online fundraiser for international organisation cbm, aims to raise $360,000 to help 1000 children with the double disadvantage of poverty and disability. The campaign asks people to upload a photo of their face onto a website, making a donation in the process, with the aim to fill the screen with faces. About 13,000 donations are needed.
Also fronting the campaign is a young Nepalese girl called Laxmi, who has a disability but through cbm, was fitted with a prosthetic leg, enabling her to walk again.
Paddy, who has an identical twin sister Georgie and a 12-year-old sister, Emma, has had a prosthetic since she was four, after her foot was amputated. She says she can sympathise with what Laxmi had to go through.
“She had to crawl everywhere, over rocks and through a stream, just to get to school. It would really hurt and I felt bad for her. My prosthetic leg helps me have a normal life.
“I want to raise lots of money for the kids who live in poor countries so they can do the same things I do.
“Running can be a bit hard for me but I still try. We had cross country – 2.2km which is quite far. My leg was sore but I finished.”
Paddy has enjoyed getting to know de Bruin and says a recent photo shoot for the cbm campaign was “really exciting”.
The youngster is keen to become a netball star herself one day – along with being a professional swimmer and becoming a vet so she can save animals. She has a pet spoodle called Polly.
Paddy was born with one leg noticeably shorter than the other and was initially treated for club foot but an x-ray revealed she had fibular hemimelia, a partial or total absence of the fibular, the thinner of the two long bones in the lower leg. Correcting this is done either by partial amputation of the leg and/or foot or by lengthening of the leg.
“It was really tough deciding what to do but the procedure for lengthening the leg was horrific and Paddy would have had to have it done three times. We felt it would be too traumatic so decided on amputation and a prosthetic. We’ve never regretted the decision.”
Publicans Lizzie and John, who have had the Harlequin Bar in Point Chevalier for 16 years, were more than happy for Paddy to be involved in the FACEUP4cbm campaign.
“People with disabilities deserve the chance to lead a normal life … we were keen for Paddy to be involved to show that having a prosthetic can make a huge difference. Nothing stops her,” Lizzie says.
“We are very lucky in New Zealand to have such wonderful facilities and health care. What children like Laxmi have to go through is not something we would want to see our children go through, so we’re happy to do whatever we can to help raise awareness and money.”
Go to www.faceup4cbm.com to find out more or to join the FACEUP4cbm campaign.