Graeme, Melinda, Leanne and Joshua Huther pose for a photo with Darren Lockyer (centre) this year, two years after Melinda's life-saving surgery.
Graeme, Melinda, Leanne and Joshua Huther pose for a photo with Darren Lockyer (centre) this year, two years after Melinda's life-saving surgery. Photo supplied

Lockyer gave teen his helping hand

A MONTH after Gladstone teenager Melinda Huther had life-saving surgery, Australian rugby league captain Darren Lockyer was by her bedside holding her hand.

The photograph (right) is something the 17-year-old will treasure for the rest of her life.

“I couldn't have done it without him. I held his hand for most of the visit after my operation,” Melinda recalled yesterday.

After the surgery to remove a tumour growing at the base of her brain and the top of her spine two years ago, the young fighter has had to learn how to walk, talk, eat and swallow all over again.

While Melinda continues to take small steps in her recovery every day, thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation, she is now looking forward to a trip to Disneyland.

Her dad Graeme applied to the foundation and even though Melinda is making such good progress, her wish was granted.

“We are so thankful to Pat and all the other volunteers from the Make a Wish Foundation for this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Graeme said.

Despite Melinda's difficulties in speaking yesterday, the excitement for her coming trip was in her voice.

“I never thought I would get to go to Disneyland,” she said.

Melinda, who is now doing work experience at the ABC Learning childcare centre in Gladstone, said she was looking forward to spending time relaxing with her family.

And she even has her fingers crossed that she might rub shoulders with her favourite teen pop-star Mylie Cyrus.

Today Melinda has to have constant physiotherapy and over the next few years minor surgery may be needed for muscle replacement.

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Melinda's wish comes true



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