Lions’ share for Moana-Rose

Little Moana-Rose Dryland thanked the Cambridge Lions for her new play areas in the way most four-year-olds would.

Clasping the hand of her leading Lion Graeme Surgenor, she pulled him up the ramp and over the swing bridge to where she and physio student Alice Hill, her support worker, had written in chalk, ‘thank you Cambridge Lions’. After a quick stop with the digger in the sandpit, she segued off for a ride on the hanging wooden horse Graeme made for her.

Moana-Rose was buzzing, in the sort of constant motion that keeps her mum Rebecca (Becs) Dryland on her toes. She’s a happy, social girl who lives with complex medical issues related to spina bifida, epilepsy, latex allergy and other conditions. She requires multiple daily medical procedures, including three-hourly catheterisations, and needs a high level of supervision.

“This playground, and the one the Lions club built for Moana-Rose inside the house, has been very helpful,” said Becs. “It’s important for her to have opportunities to play, especially with equipment that is fun and works on her gross motor skills, developing her balance, jumping and stepping, and is latex-free.”

She said time spent meeting medical needs, plus Covid, meant Moana-Rose hasn’t been able to enjoy such beneficial activities over the past couple of years.

Cambridge Lions Club members, steered by Jackie Gunn, donated $2000 to build the play areas for Moana-Rose. The wood came from the Lions Shed and Wackrow’s Joinery donated the ply. Both Graeme and Cambridge Lions president Elbe Moreland said the club was delighted to help.

The Drylands’ journey began before Moana-Rose was born. Following a spina bifida diagnosis, Becs travelled at 24 weeks pregnant from their then home in Hokitika to Brisbane for leading-edge in-utero surgery on her unborn child. The pair returned to New Zealand when Moana-Rose was three weeks old. A year later they moved to the Waikato to access specialised health care at Waikato Hospital and Starship in Auckland and to be closer to family.

Moana-Rose recently started doing several days a week at The Forest Preschool in Te Miro. She also swims and rides with the Cambridge Riding for the Disabled when not at physio sessions and other medical appointments.

Both Moana-Rose and Becs recently had surgery – Becs in February for the repair of ventral abdominal hernias that followed the 2018 foetal surgery, and Moana-Rose to remove a cyst and de-tether her spinal cord which was causing a loss of function.

Her neurosurgeon has recommended intensive physiotherapy in the next six months to significantly increase her surgery outcomes. As this physiotherapy is not available to Moana-Rose through the public system, Becs makes regular trips to Auckland for privately-funded sessions and has committed to taking Moana-Rose to Melbourne in October for a three week intensive therapy programme at the internationally-renowned NAPA Centre.

Becs said doing that now was critical for Moana-Rose’s rehabilitation and development, but because she has been unable to work since Moana-Rose’s birth, she struggles to meet the financial demands of her daughter’s therapy.

“A good friend has started a Givealittle page to help raise money for the NAPA programme,” said Becs. “I’m committed to that next step in Melbourne, and any support we can get to make the NAPA therapy possible would be much appreciated.

“We are extremely grateful for all the support given to Moana-Rose thus far. It’s now a case of raising the rest of the funds … it’s critical we do this now if Moana-Rose is to move forward and live her best life.”

Details on the Givealittle page can be found here.


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