The family of a Burntwood girl say they hope fundraising efforts will allow her to have pioneering treatment on a spinal condition.
Florence Seager was diagnosed with scoliosis – known as curvature of the spine – when she was seven.
The condition means the 10-year-old, who is one of triples and will turn 11 along with her two sisters tomorrow (29th January), has to wear a back brace for around 23 hours a day.
Mum Corinne said:
“Since June 2017 she has worn her back brace pretty much solidly – she only removes it for showering and sometimes PE.
“She struggles in the summer, because the brace causes her to sweat and develop sores. It gets hot for her and is uncomfortable.
“Our hope was that by bracing Florence her curve could be controlled and would be ‘held’, thereby lessening the likelihood that she would require surgery.
“She has now been wearing the brace for two and a half years and is on her second brace. She was reviewed most recently by her consultant in November 2019 and surgery is now the onward plan, as the brace is not holding the curve.”Corinne Seager
The NHS surgery available for Florence, who attends Ridgeway Primary School, would involve several procedures and eventual fusion with metal rods.
But Corinne says a new option used elsewhere in the world – but not funded by the NHS – would be a better option.
“Fusion following the growing rod technique, is metal rods which will restrict flexibility. We have therefore looked at other options for surgery.
“There is a surgery called Vertebral Body Tethering [VBT] which has been performed since 2007 and is is quickly becoming the ‘norm’ for children who still have growing to do, as the procedure relies on growth.
“It essentially pulls the spine straight as it grows, therefore potentially through VBT Florence will require one surgery, not multiple procedures.
“Florence’s surgeon has been supportive of our research into VBT and has also discussed her case with a surgeon in the US. I have also spoken to a surgeon in Turkey.
“There is one surgeon in the UK in London who performs VBT privately. We are most likely looking at surgery in the US or Turkey – mostly because these surgeons are more experienced and also not as expensive as the UK.”Corinne Seager
The family is hoping to raise £50,000 for her to travel abroad to have the VBT surgery.
“We have already had a couple of events, including Run for Flo which was organised by the coach of Evie’s football team Burntwood Dragons and Phoenix, and on Saturday we had a choir concert which was held at The Hub at St Mary’s in Lichfield featuring the Aurora Singers and Via Nova.
“Florence’s school, Ridgeway Primary School, have already held a non-uniform day and are planning some future events.
“We are also planning a few more events in order to continue the fundraising.”Corinne Seager
People can donate to Florence’s appeal via the family’s JustGiving page.