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Taking Flight: the First Sparrow

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Sparrow Clubs came to Southern Oregon more than a decade ago when a local school adopted the first Sparrow a girl who desperately needed to get to Australia, for a life-saving surgery.

Today, Lindsey Needham seems like a typical 25 year-old.

“I’m around family a lot. I like to work, which I’ve currently been doing […] I hang out with friends and just do a lot of activities outdoors,” she said.

A lot changes in a decade. For Lindsey, because of her brain tumor, some of the details are hazy.

“My seizures would wipe my mind out after I had one,” she recalled.

Pictures document the last time we met the then-Lindsey Christy. She was a 13-year-old, suffering severe seizures because of a congenital brain tumor. In 2002, she was risking her life for a brain surgery.

“I’d actually probably be very disabled, I might not be able to function…or even be dead for that matter,” said Lindsey.

Her saving grace was Sparrow Clubs. As an eighth grader at Hanby Middle School, Lindsey became the first sparrow in Southern Oregon. She was adopted by her own school and supported by her own friends.

Her friends, classmates and even the community worked together raising $45,000 to send Lindsey to Australia for a life-saving surgery to remove the tumor.

After a successful surgery, removing the tumor and ending the seizures, but with short-term memory loss. Lindsey arrived home and NewsWatch 12 was there, among the friends and family celebrating a successful surgery.

Lindsey was the first example in Southern Oregon of a successful Sparrow Club. It may just be a memory for the countless students and community members who supported her, but it is support even Lindsey will never forget.

“I am grateful, everything they’ve done for me is just amazing and without them, and without God and his great miracles, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey says in recent years she has not suffered any short-term memory as a result of the surgery.