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New Zealand girl born with proximal focal deficiency goes to US for leg lengthening surgery

Young girl’s leg GROWS 8cm after kind strangers help her get life-altering surgery – but it will take another decade before she can walk like her peers

  • New Zealand girl Lydia Golding, 4, was born with one leg shorter than the other 
  • Right leg was 14 centimetres shorter than her left because of a rare birth defect
  • She has proximal focal deficiency which affects one in every 200,000 people

A young girl who was born with one leg shorter than the other because of a rare birth defect has received life-altering surgery to extend her leg by eight centimetres.

New Zealand girl Lydia Golding, four, was born with her right leg 14 centimetres shorter than her left.

A birth defect known as proximal focal deficiency, which affects one in every 200,000 people, had compromised her femur bone, causing the right leg to stop growing.

Not only would Lydia need a prosthetic leg in order to walk around for the rest of her life but the limp would place extra strain on other bones and joints and cause future problems for her body.

Her parents Lauren and Hamish looked everywhere for a doctor who could offer an alternative to the painful lifestyle waiting for their daughter.

New Zealand girl Lydia Golding, 4, was born with her right leg 14 centimetres shorter than her left

They came across American doctor Dror Paley, who performs limb lengthening and deformity correction surgery out of his practice at the Paley Institute, in Florida

They came across American doctor Dror Paley, who performs limb lengthening and deformity correction surgery out of his practice at the Paley Institute, in Florida

They came across American doctor Dror Paley who performs limb lengthening and deformity correction surgery out of his practice at the Paley Institute in Florida. 

The family didn’t have to think twice about moving overseas and their daughter went under the knife in November last year.

Doctor Paley inserted 12 pins into her leg, hips, femur and knee and then painfully extended the leg by 0.75 millimetres a day until it lengthened by eight centimetres. 

Lydia is now undergoing walking therapy and strengthening rehabilitation at the institute in Florida.     

Ms Golding told Daily Mail Australia her daughter has been doing extremely well, except for one minor setback.

‘She had an infection last week and that’s what sent her back for another surgery to get it cleaned up,’ she said. 

‘She is honestly doing amazing and it really blows me away constantly how well she copes.

‘There’s definitely good and bad days.’  

Lydia will require four more procedures to lengthen her leg, which doctors will space out every three years.

She will be 16 by the time she receives the last operation, when both her legs will finally be the same length.

Ms Golding has already described the journey as ‘an emotional roller coaster.’ 

‘We are taking each day one step at a time.’

Lydia is now undergoing walking therapy and strengthening rehabilitation at the institute in Florida

Lydia is now undergoing walking therapy and strengthening rehabilitation at the institute in Florida

The family have kickstarted a GoFundMe to help raise money and cover the costs of the surgery.

The initial procedure cost $250,000 and Lydia will require another medical procedure later in the year worth $60,000.

The family also has to pay rent for their Florida apartment, meaning costs have skyrocketed to $400,000.

Ms Golding said the price tag has been worth it just to see her daughter smile again. 

‘Lydia has an absolute heart of gold, an infectious smile, and melts people’s hearts,’ Ms Golding said.

‘We are hoping by sharing her story she will also melt yours and your 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.’

Lydia will require four more procedures to lengthen her leg, which doctors will space out one every three years

Lydia will require four more procedures to lengthen her leg, which doctors will space out one every three years

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