A Northwood teen in need of major spinal surgery is hoping to raise enough money to receive the treatment, and is also raising awareness for fellow sufferers.
Zoë Cronin, 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.
An NHS surgeon originally told Zoë she’d need spinal fusion, which would fuse her lower spine together.
Zoë said: “It’ll seriously impact my flexibility and increase my risk of degenerative disc disease. Without surgery it will painfully worsen, putting pressure on my organs. Hearing this during my GCSE mocks was a nightmare – the worst day ever.
“Then we were advised about Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT). It’s non-fusion surgery using flexible cords rather than metal rods to fix the spine and retains flexibility. VBT was developed and FDA approved in the USA and is practiced worldwide. I felt so optimistic.”
While Zoë has been told she’s a perfect candidate for the treatment, it’s not covered by the NHS and costs over £75,000. The brave teen is trying to raise money in the hopes that she will be able to continue doing the things she loves, like surfing and drumming – she’s even got her sights on a future skydive.
Her goal goes further than just bettering her own life. Zoë has set up a Facebook and Instagram page where she posts not just about her own situation, but about scoliosis as a whole.
She said: “Please help me achieve my goal by donating and sharing my story with all your friends. This will raise awareness of Scoliosis and the benefits of non-fusion. One day I want this to be available for children through the NHS.”
Zoë’s so far raised £12,200; almost £4,000 of which came from her dad, Peter, doing a 47-mile fundraising bike ride.
To donate, go to justgiving.com/campaign/ZoesNonFusionSpinalSurgery and to stay updated on Zoë, go to facebook.com/ZOENONFUSION orwww.instagram.com/zoe_nonfusion/