A 15-year-old girl with an ‘S’-shaped spine has a race against time to raise £175,000 for life-changing surgery – after the NHS stopped offering it.
Former gymnast Lucie Clarke was diagnosed with a rare double twist in her spine caused by severe scoliosis.
It means her rib cage is being crushed, leaving her in constant agony, reliant on painkillers and unable to walk, stand or sit without difficulty.
She was due to have surgery on the NHS in May but it was cancelled when doctors discovered she has junctional ectopic tachycardia, a heart condition.
By the time she had undergone surgery to treat that, the NHS had stopped performing the spinal correction procedure called Vertebral Body Tethering.
As a result the family, of Stoke Orchard, Glos., have resorted to fundraising for treatment in the US.
Lucie requires a minimally invasive surgery which involves screws being inserted into each vertebra and tethered with a cord before being pulled taut.
The procedure will alleviate much of the pain she’s suffering and transform her life – but needs to be carried out before she finishes puberty.
Since launching the appeal in December, Lucie and mum Debbie have raised £16,000 towards their mammoth target.
Lucie’s mum, business owner Debbie Clarke, 37, said: “Before this she was just a normal teenager. She was really active, fit and healthy.
“Now she can’t walk for more than a few minutes, she can’t sit properly – everyday things that we take for granted, she can’t do.
“She is in excruciating pain and it gets her down. She gets upset and frustrated. She just wants to be whatever ‘normal’ is.
“It’s awful to see. If I could take it away and be the one suffering instead of her I would.”
The mum-of-two added: “Being able to have this operation will help her get her life back on track and enjoying life again. She isn’t enjoying it at the moment.
“The surgery is the answer to all our prayers – we just need to raise the funds.
“Without help there is no change we could afford it. This is our only option. We will do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
Local businesses and wellwishers have so far helped the family raise £16,000 – but they still need to raise
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/lucies-life-changing-operation