Earlier in the week injured jockey Maija Vance and her faithful dog Toro visited Haunui Farm, where the Auckland branch of the NZTBA presented her with a cheque for just over $7800.
It was wonderful to see a determined Maija who suffered a broken back in a fall at Rotorua in September managing on a walker not in a wheel chair when she arrived at for her presentation. She has had two rods and a number of plates inserted in her back to support the five vertebrae she damaged in her spine and prevent any more damage to her spinal cord.
“I have some feeling in my right leg, but at this stage none in my left. I can stand and walk with the (walking) frame, but my brain has to tell my left leg what to do, that’s why it is braced so it stays upright,”she said.
“I am making good progress, and our house is now all set up with ramps and things to cope with the wheelchair.”
Maija says she uses the wheelchair if she is going to the mall or longer distances, but prefers the walker, however this week she is undergoing further surgery and will be wheelchair bound for four weeks afterwards.
It will be a long rehab, but she remains upbeat and is determined to keep making progress.
The Auckland branch along with Head Office and Dunstan Nutrition contributed to fund to help with Maija’s rehabilitation. The majority of the funds were raised at the annual golf tournament and Calcutta held on the eve of the Gr.2 Dunstan Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at the Counties Cup meeting, held at Clarks Beach Golf Club with the help of Byerley Park trainer Alan Peard. It’s a tournament that Maija’s father Bob has played in since it commenced in the early 90’s, and although he is a keen golfer, remarked that he still hasn’t won it yet.
Dunstan came to the party donating $1000 worth of feed, which was auctioned at the Auckland branch function on the race day, and was purchased by Maryanne and George Simon’s Mana Park for $1200. - Michelle Saba