Local schoolgirl Millie is 13 years old. She is a keen dancer, she loves all types of sports and gymnastics – people who are acquainted with Millie know how active she is, always out and about on her roller boots and scooter.
Millie was diagnosed in 2015 with severe scoliosis. Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine; the last x-ray of Millie’s curve of the spine revealed elevation to a degree of 60/65. She has worn a back brace for the past three years to sleep in but unfortunately this has not worked. The rehabilitation specialist told Millie’s parents Emma and Steve that surgery is now the only option. Spain’s public healthcare system only offers the Harrington procedure as a surgical solution – this procedure involves metal rod fusion. Millie’s mum Emma explained, “We know this procedure works but Millie would have very limited flexibility and minimal quality of life, she would also never be able to dance or do gymnastics again. The traumatologist said that she would also need to wear a brace for 22 hours a day whilst she continues to grow and they would only be able to operate on her in a few years’ time.”
Emma continued, “As parents we want to give Millie the best opportunity in life that she deserves. I have met with Dr Juan Carlos Olaverri a private surgeon in Barcelona, he is one of only 20 surgeons in the world who performs an alternative procedures. He performs the VBT – Vertical Body Tethering and ASC – Anterior Scoliosis Correction procedures which are a lot less invasive and recovery is much quicker, this will allow Millie to continue to grow, hopefully without any further problems. The operation is lateral, but instead of a metal rod it incorporates a flexible cord into the side, which will allow the spine to straighten more as she grows. Dr Olaverri has advised that this procedure needs to be done sooner rather than later due to her age and expected growth spurts.”
Millie and her family hope that surgery can be scheduled on the 4th of February 2019. It will be necessary for Millie to be in hospital for 7 days, and then a further two weeks nearby in an apartment for aftercare from the surgical team. The cost of this procedure is in the region of €50,000.
Millie’s parents have kick-started a fundraising campaign in the hope that they can gather the funds needed to allow their daughter to live as normal a life as possible. They have set up a Facebook page called “We’ve got your back Millie” and have already garnered support from prominent local businesses such as The Christmas Shop and Venture Fleet as well as members of the public.
Emma said, “We are looking at fundraising suggestions and any merchandise or ideas that could be auctioned or donated. If there is anything that your readers can do or help in any way it would be greatly appreciated.”
To donate, simply visit the Go Fund Me page: www.gofundme.com/millie-spinal-operation
Alternatively, you can bring donations of cash or raffle prizes to Venture Fleet in Los Montesinos (see their advert on page 61 of the Costa Blanca People).