By Mollie Mansfield
A teenager has been forced to fork out £35,000 for a new back after her mum discovered her spine was crooked when she was tying her shoelaces.
Olivia Flynn, 15, was diagnosed with scoliosis – a curvature of the spine – last year after her doting mum, Estelle Cable, 50, noticed that her spine was an ‘S’ shape.
Despite being fitted with a back brace, Olivia’s family knew from their own research that she needed surgery quickly before she grew anymore.
The family decided to seek private experimental surgery in Germany – which would ensure her spine could continue growing – costing a whopping £35,000.
Now Olivia is recovering from her surgery at home and adjusting to life with her new straight back.
Estelle, from Kingston, London, said: “One day when Olivia was tying up her shoelaces I realised that her back just didn’t look right.
“The left side of her back was high up and the right was drooping down, it didn’t look normal at all.
“After talking to some friends and googling pictures of back problems, I knew straight away that it was scoliosis.
“As soon as she got the diagnosis it felt like a race against time to get her back fixed, we knew she needed it sorting before her back stopped growing to avoid problems later in life.
“It was heart-breaking knowing that she was in pain and discomfort, but our main goal was to get it sorted so we put our emotions into that.
“After research we knew that a certain surgery available in Germany was the best solution, so we did everything we could to get the £35,000 together.
“Thanks to savings and £13,000 in donations, we were able to get Olivia a new back and her life has been a lot more comfortable since!”
After initially spotting her misshapen back in December 2016, Olivia was shortly diagnosed with the condition just months later.
Then after a year of research, Olivia was booked in to have a new form of surgery that was not available in the UK. Estelle said: “After speaking with surgeons in the UK and getting advice from people in similar situations online, we decided that it was best for Olivia to go to Germany for surgery.
“Despite the surgery being pricey, we knew that it was best for Olivia as it was the one that allowed her spine to grow whilst straightening it.
“We started fundraising to get as many donations as possible and finally in March we were able to fly over and get the surgery that she needed.
“She was in surgery for five hours and it only took her four days to get back on her feet and walking again.
“The real milestone was when she was able to walk up the stairs just six days in, as this meant she was allowed to go home.”
“Now she’s still recovering at home but is no longer in any pain or discomfort, and in five years’ time her back will be settled and stabilised!”