Kate Mullaney has good news and bad news.

The good news is she now has a date for what will be life-changing spinal surgery in Germany to correct her deteriorating back.

The bad news is she and husband Kevin will have to take out a second mortgage to make it happen.

But needs must, and this operation is not just needed, it's her only option, Kate says.


"I don't know how I am going to get through another term," the early childhood teacher says.

Kate has worked in the Waihi community for more than 20 years. The preschoolers at Waihi Kindergarten love her and there's always a child on her lap or one rushing towards her for a hug. Her goal is to continue working.

Kate suffers from ongoing pain due to five degenerative discs in her spine, narrowing of the spine and herniated discs. The lumbar spinal discs L1-5 are compressing and the rest are crumbling.

The pain just gets worse as the years roll on.

Pain starts from the moment Kate wakes up. It takes time to get out of bed and Kate struggles to get through her work day as the constant pain also causes fatigue.

In February, the Waihi Leader caught up with Kate. She had had a consultation with surgeons to discuss her suitability for the operation which involves inserting a prosthetic disc between the discs.

She's now received a surgery date in July.

Kate is ecstatic, but there is the daunting necessity to take out a second mortgage.


The operation alone costs $105,000 which the loan will pay for. Her package includes the operation, a stay in hospital for two weeks followed by 19 days in rehabilitation.

More fundraising is required to pay for three months of recovery and rehabilitation after her stay in Germany. She hopes to take a term off work to give herself the best chance of success.

"There's no way we can do this without getting another mortgage. It will be really hard for us and I am really worried about how we are going to manage it but I just have to do this. I don't have another option — either I take this opportunity or I go off work and live a pretty miserable life in pain."

Kate was overwhelmed and humbled by the response from the public who have raised an impressive $10,000 since February.

"Many have come out of the woodwork and put on fundraising events for me. I am just so grateful. Waihi is such a great community and I feel extremely lucky to have them as my 'village'."

Kate says she will pay it forward in the community when she is well.

The community has fundraising events for her over the next month.

Kate's Givealittle page is givealittle.co.nz/cause/a-new-back-a-better-life

Fundraising events and raffles for Kate:
■ Musician Brother Tee at Waihi Beach Pub, May 11. Local DJ's Mister K and Benny J will be playing. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Tickets www.trybooking.com
■ Waihi RSA is hosting a trivia night on June 1 from 5-7.30pm, along with raffles, a mystery auction and DJ Benny J. For more information contact Waihi RSA.
■ The Sustainable Pantry is selling stainless steel pegs.
■ The Talisman Cafe has a raffle — first prize cake worth $200, second prize two adult day passes for The Lost Springs, third prize lunch at the cafe.
■ Mauri Ora Spa Native Spa Therapies and Waikino Hotel have teamed up and have a raffle for a $100 spa treatment and $100 food and beverage voucher. Contact Wiki, via Mauri Ora Native Spa Facebook page
■ The Goodwin family have donated firewood which can be ordered from the kindergarten, phone 863 7117.
■ Waihi Kindergarten has a Mother's Day hamper to raffle.
Thanks to Eaten Cafe who did "Coffee for Kate" throughout March, donating $1 of every coffee sold on Fridays. Waihi Kindergarten's Easter raffle was donated by kindergarten families.
■La Diva, The Gold Mine Cafe and Lil Big Coffee Bar in Paeroa all have tins for loose coins.