ROMAC Ambassador Lydia Ko meets children at RMH Auckland

Lydia Ko with ROMAC patient Clara at RMH
Lydia with ROMAC patient Clara at RMH

Lydia Ko took time out from golf to visit children and their families staying at Ronald McDonald House (RMH).

She has been an ambassador for Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) since 2013.

Lydia said her visit to Ronald McDonald House was “an inspiration”.

She stated “All these kids are really strong, I wish I could have their mentality. For them to go through open-heart surgery and brain tumours at their young age, it’s amazing and it’s really an inspiration.

After their surgery they end up being so happy so what they’re [ROMAC] doing for children is a great cause.”

Lydia is pictured at RMH with Clara aged 12 from Fiji, who after severe rheumatic fever, was awaiting heart surgery to repair her very damaged mitral valve.

  • Clara had been earlier referred to ROMAC by her mother, Debra Ratuyada who had sent ROMAC an online referral with the following plea: “Bula, my daughter Clara Joan Stephanie has rheumatic heart disease failure. I don’t have insurance and the Ministry of Health says they have no funds to send her to Australia or New Zealand for an operation. She has had a few screenings by the overseas team that comes to visit and they’ve all stated that she can not be operated locally but needs to go overseas. I’ve been doing some research and came across your organisation and kindly request if you could please help us…. We desperately look forward to your response, Debra.”
  • It was not long after that ROMAC had arranged for the Starship Hospital in Auckland to accept Clara for life-saving surgery and ROMAC was able to arrange the flight from Fiji to Auckland for Debra, Clara and a medical escort.

A few of hours after Lydia Ko’s visit, Clara had to be admitted to The Starship to stabilise her heart condition, as she became severely breathless.

A week later she had successful surgery for her cardiac valve repair and four-weeks later she and mum Debra were excitedly able to return home to Fiji.

More Patients Stories from Fiji

  1. Gabriella
  2. Viliame bounces in and out
  3. ROMAC steps up to save baby
  4. Burns patient Roberta treated many times over the years