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Cerebral Palsy :Family Fundraising For Daughter’s US Cerebral Palsy Operation

A Waitaki Valley family hoping to raise $120,000 is planning a fundraising quiz night in Duntroon this weekend.

The McLachlans are trying to raise the large sum of money so they can send their daughter Charlee, who has a type of cerebral palsy, to the United States for surgery.

Charlee and her sister Jorja were born 9 weeks premature and spent the first six weeks of their lives in the Christchurch Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Meet the McLachlans: Alex, 12, dad Duncan, Charlee, 4, mum Anna, Jorja, 4, and Lane, 16.

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Meet the McLachlans: Alex, 12, dad Duncan, Charlee, 4, mum Anna, Jorja, 4, and Lane, 16.

Charlee was born with right side hemiplegia cerebral palsy which was caused by periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) in utero, a form of white-matter brain injury.

“Just after she was two they told us she had cerebral palsy,” Charlee’s mother, Anna McLachlan said.

When  Anna first heard the news she said she didn’t know how to react.

“I sat there like one of those dogs on the dashboard of people’s cars nodding away just saying yes, yes, yes,” she said.

For Charlee, her cerebral palsy makes life a lot harder than for other children her age.

“Her coordination isn’t the best,” Anna said.

“Some days it’s something as easy as putting her pants on… her limbs just aren’t listening to her brain.”

Last month Charlee was accepted to undergo an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) and physiotherapy next year at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in the United States.

The operation involves dividing some of the nerve fibres of the muscles to the spinal cord to reduce stiffness in Charlee’s legs and improve her ability to walk.

The surgeon, Dr T. S. Parks specialises in pediatric neurology and treating children with cerebral palsy.

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“He’s done over 3000 SDR operations,” Anna said.

Anna and her husband Duncan said they were optimistic  the operation would change Charlee’s life and give her the ability to walk and play just like other kids her age, just in time to start school.

The operation would not change just Charlee’s life, but the whole family, she said.

Kurow had been home to the McLachlan family since 2014 after moving from a dairy farm in Hinds, and the family has been amazed by the support from its new community.

In just over a month the family had already raised $7000 from their give-a-little page and the support from the Waitaki community extended beyond cash donations.

“We have been given everything from $5 donations to a fuel tank worth $7000 that we can sell,” Anna said.

Anna is currently writing a book. She said she wanted to write it because she was worried so many of the milestones the family had reached would be forgotten in a couple of years.

The fundraising quiz night will be held at the Duntroon Tavern on July 29, from 7:30pm – 11:30 pm

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