A TEENAGER from Clady is in a race against time to have a corrective surgery on a worsening spinal condition.
Rhianna Elliott (13) recently developed Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, a disorder whereby the spine matures abnormally, and curves excessively in one direction.
In some cases this curving can cause damage to organs by putting excessive pressure on them and that’s what’s happened to Rhianna. Her rib cage is now pressing on her lungs which causes shortness of breath and if her spine continues to grow Rhianna’s other organs may be affected.
“You’re against time with this,” the Holy Cross College pupil’s mum, Fiona explained. “The longer you wait to have her seen, the further the curve goes.”
Thankfully this condition is treatable, with an operation that applies spinal supports.
However this operation is not available on the NHS, and the family will have to travel to Turkey to have it performed, which will cost up to £45,000.
To that end, a new fundraising campaign has been launched and a Go Fund Me page has been created: Help Rhianna Get Her Operation.
The family has been inspired by another local girl, Natasha O’Connor, who was diagnosed with a curvature of the spine – ‘Thoracic Scoliosis’ – in July of last year and who also travelled to Turkey to have the vital surgery.
“Natasha’s mum Mandy gave me all the information about going to Turkey to get it done,” Fiona continued.
“I’m only back from Turkey recently. I was out already for a week and have met the doctor who is going to be doing the surgery. He is going to get her fitted in, hopefully around June time.
“The doctor thinks if we can get her over in June he can get her curve to zero degrees.”
Fiona also paid tribute to her friends and neighbours who are already planning some fundraising events to allow the family to achieve their goal.
“The support have we have had has been great,” she admitted. “Friends have come together and they’re taking it on. It is inspirational how good people can be.”
She added, “Rhianna is doing fine. She’s in no pain. She’s dying to get over and get the operation done.
“She’s overwhelmed too by all the support we’ve got. Everybody has been so good to her.”
To donate go to Help Rhianna Get Her Operation Go Fund Me Page.