Teenager's bid to raise £75,000 for spinal surgery so she can keep cheerleading
PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35 14 February 2020
A young cheerleader is hoping to raise £75,000 so she can travel to Europe to receive life-changing spinal surgery, without which she will have to give up her sport.
Caitlin Bygrave, 16, from Sprowston, has been either doing gymnastics, cheerleading or dancing for most of her life.
But last summer she suspected something might be wrong with her spine after looking at her prom pictures.
The teenager felt she didn't "look quite right" and her head was "on the wonk".
After some research she became concerned she might have scoliosis.
A visit to the GP soon confirmed Miss Bygrave's fears and in December, after a series of scans, she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, which often develops during puberty.
You may also want to watch:
She was told her condition was so severe, doctors would need to use a metal rod to straighten her spine a procedure which would mean she would lose all flexibility in her back.
Lee Bygrave, Caitlin's mother said the diagnosis came as a shock, because her daughter hadn't experienced any pain, loss of flexibility and was incredibly active.
She said: "The hard bit was when [the doctor] said they fuse the spine with a metal rod, and because her's is a double curve it would go all the way down her spine, so she would lose her flexibility.
"She was absolutely devastated, she just couldn't understand why she would have to go through that surgery."
Now, after researching methods of treatment, Miss Bygrave and her family are attempting to raise £75,000 to send her to Barcelona to have surgery which doesn't use a single metal rod, and crucially would enable the teenager to maintain her flexibility.
Mrs Bygrave said discovering her daughter was eligible for the treatment was wonderful, she said: "This has given us a chance for her to lead a normal life.
"We're petrified, it's spinal surgery, it's really serious, but at least this way she'll be going through knowing the outcome is positive."
To help reach the goal of £75,000, Miss Bygrave and her family after set up a Just Giving page, to donate visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/KeepCaitlincheerleading