A Northwood teenager in need of major spinal surgery and her dad have created an app to help other people catch their back problems early.
More than a thousand people have already downloaded the free app set up by Zoë Cronin and her dad Peter, which helps users identify possible signs of scoliosis.
Zoë, 16, was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis just as the pandemic began, meaning her lower spine is growing with a 59-degree curve that’s rapidly developed during a growth spurt.
She’s raising money to have Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT), a non-fusion surgery which would help the condition without giving her other long-term health risks. She has so far raised £34,000 of the £75,000 she needs for the treatment.
Despite many of Zoë’s potential fundraising events being cancelled due to lockdown, the teen has taken it upon herself to try to help others identify scoliosis in themselves as early as possible.
Peter explained the app’s features and how the idea came about.
He said: “I work in marketing and so I’ve got quite a lot of friends who are clever people, and they became very aware that there wasn’t much that was easily accessible to help people have a better understanding of what the scoliosis signs are.
“You can obviously go to a GP, which is always the right approach, but if people don’t know what signs to look out for, like us, then it’s not even on their radar. So we developed the app as something that could help people in the early stages to try and get an early diagnosis.”
The app, which asks users to answer eight questions to determine whether they’re likely to be suffering from scoliosis, is a continuation of Zoë’s efforts to raise awareness of the problem – she’s already set up social media accounts to help spread the word.
To use Zoë’s app, go to zoesscoliosischeck.com
To donate for Zoë, go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/ZoesNonFusionSpinalSurgery and to stay updated on Zoë, go to www.facebook.com/ZOENONFUSION