Little battler’s walking dream

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Harry Finch is a happy, determined three-year-old, with a cheeky smile and big brown eyes.

But, unlike his identical twin, Ollie, he’s never walked un-assisted.

Their parents, ex-Queenstowners Bex (nee Harrex) and Hayden Finch, hope to raise $150,000 to get Harry to the United States next year for a surgery that’s their best shot at helping him realise his dream to “walk one day”.

Hayden, Queenstown’s long-time Speight’s rep, says Bex was about 20 weeks pregnant when they found out she had a rare syndrome which meant Harry was donating to Ollie in the womb.

Born in Dunedin at 29 weeks, within the first 12 hours Harry had two seizures.

“Ollie had really drained him of everything,” Hayden says.

Harry, who also had a perforated bowel, was flown to Christchurch Hospital where he stayed for three weeks before going back to NICU in Dunedin.

After a three-month stay the boys and their mum went home – by then Harry had been diagnosed with diplegic cerebral palsy, which makes walking difficult and painful.

He’s recently been accepted to have a surgery in Missouri, tentatively scheduled for May, where nerve rootlets sending the abnormal messages from his lower spinal cord will be cut.

It’ll cost at least $150,000 for the surgery, flights and acc-ommodation, and may also cover the first six to eight weeks of Harry’s post-op physio in the States – something he’ll need up to five times a week for a year after he comes home.

To date they’ve raised almost $36,500, which Hayden says is “overwhelming”.

“It’s really tough to take, to be honest, how amazing people are.

“It’s never easy, maybe as a male, asking for help, let alone asking for people to donate money.

“It’s not easy for anyone out there, financially … so we’re just really grateful.”

In Queenstown a fundraising R18 bingo night, including an auction and beer tasting, is being held to help the little battler who’s becoming more aware of his limitations.

“He said to me this morning he wants to ‘go to the doctor today to make his legs all better’,” Hayden says.

“That’s why it’s all ‘Help Harry to Walk One Day’ because he does say ‘I want to walk one day’ a lot.”

They’re hopeful he will.

“[The doctor] has told us that he’ll be more balanced, stand on his own and, worst-case scenario he’ll [use] a walker, which is still better than he’s got at the moment.”

  • Bitchin’ Bingo for Harry, Wakatipu Rugby Clubrooms, Thursday, October 18, from 7pm. Tickets cost $45, available from Eventbrite.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz