Clock ticking for teen cheerleader who needs spinal operation by end of year
PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:37 24 June 2020
Time is running out for a cheerleading teenager to have a life-changing spinal operation.
Caitlin Bygrave, 17, from Blackwell Avenue in Sprowston, received the “devastating” diagnosis of Idiopathic Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, which often develops during puberty, last year aged 16.
Her family started a £75,000 fundraising drive in February so she could have an operation, known as Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC), in Barcelona this month.
The procedure would allow City College Norwich student Caitlin to carry on cheerleading, gymnastics and street dance - activities she is passionate about - but needs to be done by the end of this year before her spine curves too much.
It was expected to be done this month at the Centro Médico Teknon hospital in Barcelona but due to coronavirus travel restrictions and worldwide cancellations of elective operations, the surgeon due to carry out the ASC cannot travel from America to Spain before the start of next year.
The family is resting on hopes of raising £160,000 so the surgery can be done this autumn in a New York hospital.
Caitlin’s mother, Lee Bygrave, 44, Sprowston Infant School teacher, said: “We have a short window where we have to have this surgery. If we cannot do it that only leaves us with the option of spinal fusion.”
The spinal fusion would be done on the NHS for free and involves permanently connecting Caitlin’s whole spine to a metal rod which would prevent her from doing her cheerleading and gymnastics.
“We don’t know how she would cope,” added Mrs Bygrave.
MORE: Teenager’s bid to raise £75,000 for spinal surgery so she can keep cheerleading
ASC is a minimal invasive surgery involving tethering vertebrae to a flexible material which would allow Caitlin to carry on her hobbies.
The family has raised nearly £25,000 and the lockdown had stopped fundraisers but since restrictions have eased they are starting up again.
Mrs Bygrave said: “People’s support has been amazing. We remain focused and positive.”
This includes a sponsored 33km coastal walk by six staff members from Sprowston Infant School staff and seven-year-old twin sisters, Maisy and Sophia Rounce, from Sprowston, having their long hair cut for the worthy cause.
To donate and support the fundraiser visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/KeepCaitlincheerleading, www.facebook.com/caitlinsscoliosisjourney, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Amy-Rounce and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/KeepCaitlincheerleading-coastalwalk
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