Teen, 14, fears she may never dance again in agonising wait for life changing spinal surgery

A TEEN dancer is terrified she may never move the same way again as she endures the agonising wait for life changing spinal surgery.

Lacie Carter, 14, was diagnosed with scoliosis last summer after medics noticed an ‘S’ shape in her spine. 

The teen from Bournemouth was in so much pain she was forced to stop dancing all together, with surgery abroad now her only hope for a return to the stage. 

“Sometimes I wake up in a lot of pain. My feet hurt often, it’s really achy and some days it’s constant,” Lacie told the Sun Online. 

“I want to be a dance teacher when I’m older so it worries me. I’ve danced all my life and now that I’ve stopped it’s quite sad.”

Lacie’s parents Mitch and Laura say their daughter now struggles to walk short distances and her confidence has become so low she is being home-schooled. 

The curves in her spine are also worsening quickly and she has been told she needs surgery as soon as possible because she is still growing. 

Dad Mitch, 33, said: “She’s 14 years old and meant to be enjoying life but she’s really struggling. 

“We are just hoping that once she has the surgery we can build her confidence again and she might be able to get back to dance.” 

The parents-of-three are desperately trying to raise £55,000 for vertebral body tethering (VBT) surgery in Turkey, a treatment which is being trialled, but not currently available on the NHS.

Mum Laura, 32, explained: “The spine is pulled straighter using a flexible cord which tethers the spine a little like the way teeth braces work. 

“No disks are removed and the spine stays in its natural state. It’s a growth modulation method and as Lacie finishes growing the tether will continue to straighten her spine naturally.”

The surgery offered on the NHS is known as fusion – and the Carters have been told that because Lacie’s spinal curve starts so low, her spine would need to be fused in a way that leaves her with limited mobility. 

“If she didn’t get surgery the curves in her spine would get worse,” Mitch said. 

“The limitations of what she would be able to do then would be massive. There could be other implications of it pushing on organs and her body confidence has been damaged already. It would only get worse.”

What is Scoliosis?

A twist or curve of the spine to one side has been medically defined as scoliosis.

Although the condition most commonly affects children aged 10-15, it can strike people of any age.

It’s unlikely for cases of scoliosis to improve without surgery, so it’s always important to contact your GP if you or your children spot tell-tale symptoms.

Back pain is a common symptom of scoliosis, especially for adult sufferers.

The NHS outlines six other signs to look out for…

  • a visibly curved spine
  • leaning to one side
  • uneven shoulders
  • one shoulder or hip sticking out
  • the ribs sticking out on one side
  • clothes not fitting well

If you spot these symptoms, it’s important to visit your local GP.

After the medical expert has examined the back, they may then refer you to a hospital for an X-ray to confirm a diagnosis.

This test will determine just how severe the curvature of the spine is and if it needs to be treated.

The family has now booked VBT surgery for Lacie to have in Turkey in March, hoping to raise enough funds in the next eight weeks for it to go ahead.

Lacie says she is “excited to go to a different country” but is “really nervous about the surgery”.

"I can't wait to get my confidence back on the stage again," she said. 

Mitch and Laura have set up a GoFundMe page for their daughter's treatment, and have been overwhelmed by the response so far.

“There are a lot of people who have been very kind, especially with Covid going on at the moment,” Mitch said.

“It’s been a very nice touch for people to support us.”

You can donate towards Lacie’s treatment here. 

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