TALENTED Coventry ice skater Macy Handley is set for her life-changing spinal operation after the £90,000 fund-raising target to pay for it was smashed in just five weeks.
The 12-year-old was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis and, because her spine has a double curve and a rotation, she has to wear an uncomfortable brace for 20 hours a day.
Tests showed she needed surgery but the procedure on the NHS sees a brace used until she stops growing then metal rods fixed the length of her spine which would leave her with a massive scar and restrict her movement.
The alternative – not available on the NHS or covered by medical insurance – is Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT), which is a kind of internal brace.
The £90,000 covers the surgery which the family needed to get in place and there are still some fund-raising events taking place which will help pay for the after-care, follow-up appointments and physiotherapy.
Delighted mum Kerry said: “When we started this, me and Toby thought we would get to £20,000 or £30,000, we never dreamed we would reach the target in just five weeks.
“We feared we may have to remortgage the house and take out loans to make up the rest which would have crippled us financially.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated and all the well-wishing messages which have been phenomenal.”
Kerry and Toby have been in the police for almost 20 years and a lot of cash has come in from the force, along with the rugby community from around the world (Toby is a former player).
“The police and the rugby communities are incredible forces and when you put them together they’re unstoppable.
“There have been so many other generous people out there as well – Macy could not believe how so many people she had never met rallied together to help her get to the total.”
The family were in a race against time as the operation needs to be completed by the end of May before Macy’s condition worsens.
That will now happen with the family finding out soon when the date for the operation.
The procedure will take place at St George’s Hospital in London before the end of next month when there is an operating theatre slot, two surgeons and an anaesthetist available.
Macy has also been diagnosed with ASD/Asperger’s and suffers from anxiety and another positive to come out of the campaign is she has been able to speak to other young people who have been through VBT so they could enlighten her on what to expect.
Kerry added: “The next stage is preparing Macy for the op and keeping our fingers crossed it goes the way we hope it will.
“This would be a tough time for anyone but Macy’s sensory issues have added to the anxiety.
“Her buddies as I call them – the others she have spoken to – have been an immense help and have taken out a lot of the fear.
“The whole of the last few weeks has been completely overwhelming for all of us.”
Macy started a Vlog (video blog) and has recorded two so far. She plans to keep that up so she can pass on the experiences she has to others with scoliosis and help them out too.
One of the remaining fund-raisers is an auction of rugby memorabilia, including some rare and much sought-after items.
Click here for more on that.