Drive to help teen cheerleader with double curve in spine

Caitlin Bygrave, 17, from Sprowston in Norwich, who needs a life-changing operation for her scoliosi

Caitlin Bygrave, 18, from Sprowston, who has scoliosis. - Credit: Lee Bygrave

A fundraising drive for a teenager with severe scoliosis has been kick-started after her operation was cancelled because of Covid.

Gymnast and cheerleader Caitlin Bygrave, 18, from Blackwell Avenue in Sprowston, has two major curves in her spine and her family were hoping she could have specialist surgery in Barcelona last June.

But despite the community raising £34,000 for the Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) the procedure could not happen due to the pandemic.

The most recent X-ray of Caitlin Bygrave's spine. Picture: Lee Bygrave

An X-ray of Caitlin Bygrave's spine. The teenager has scoliosis which causes major curvature of the spine. - Credit: Lee Bygrave

A year on, Caitlin's family has been given a boost after they used some of the community fundraiser money to fund a four-week Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London, which teaches exercises to stop spinal curves from deteriorating.

They have restarted the online fundraising page to pay for equipment so the 18-year-old can practice her physical therapy at home and when she is at Oxford Brookes University from September.

Caitlin's mother, Lee Bygrave, 45, a teacher at Sprowston Infant School, said: "Caitlin is a tough cookie. She has been able to make some positive changes that will give her the boost she needs. The clinic has been brilliant. 

"Caitlin is living so well with her scoliosis but we don't want things to get worse. The exercises can hopefully reduce the curves.

"Our next thing is getting the equipment and we might have to convert the garage into a mini gym. It isn't the easy way out."

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Mrs Bygrave said there is a chance her daughter, who is embarking on an early education studies degree, could have ASC if medical technology changes.

But they did not want traditional spinal fusion surgery because it would mean Caitlin would lose her flexibility and quality of life. 

The Sprowston teacher added the family was grateful to the community for its support so far as well as people involved in future fundraisers including her colleagues Amy Rounce, Rowan Shingler and Kirsty Ward.

Sprowston Infant School teachers (from left) Amy Rounce, Rowan Shingler and Kirsty Ward who are walking for Caitlin Bygrave.

Sprowston Infant School teachers (from left) Amy Rounce, Rowan Shingler and Kirsty Ward who will be walking 20 miles on the Norfolk Coast Path on July 17, 2021, dressed as cheerleaders for 18-year-old Caitlin Bygrave. - Credit: Amy Rounce

They are walking 20 miles along the Norfolk Coast Path from Wells to Cromer dressed as cheerleaders on July 17.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keepcaitlincheerleading-coastalwalk

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/KeepCaitlincheerleadingfor general donations and search Caitlin's Scoliosis Journey on Facebook.

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