Please help this gorgeous girl to feel free and active again
Sienna Houston and her family need your help - to get her the operation she urgently needs to enable her with a positive and active future.Auckland
Sienna Houston is a normal 12 year old girl – happy, bubbly, fun-loving, active and loves hanging out with her friends and family – all the things a 12 year old girl should be able to do. Unfortunately she was recently diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. In layman’s terms this means a severe curvature of the spine (see the image above).
If left untreated, she has a 90% likelihood of further rapid curve increase which, although not life threatening, would result in a life of agony as the curves progressed - her spine would continue to curve and twist, crushing her stomach, intestines and bowel. It has already closed up one side of her rib cage while opening the opposite to restrict lung function. Her appetite and ability to consume full meals is already compromised. Left untreated, her daily pain will increase - adults who do not get treated struggle to complete basic household tasks and hold down jobs due to the pain. Having a family of her own could become impossible.
In New Zealand, Sienna’s only option is fusion which is essentially a welding process whereby twelve vertebrae would be fused together so they heal into a single solid bone. This would leave her with no spine flexibility and very limited movement – it’s hard to imagine how she would even be able to put her shoes on with this surgery!
Overseas options were investigated and her family found VBT and ASC (Vertebral Body Tethering and Anterior Scoliosis Correction) which are surgeries which aim to reduce the degree of the curve and untwist it using screws and a flexible cord - it uses the body to grow to improve the curve and leaves a fully functioning, flexible and 'normal' sectioned spinal column.
Going to Australia for the operation was a possibility, but with her bone maturity being 18 months ahead of her age, and also having hypokyphosis (flattened curve in the thoracic) and a rotated spinal column, there are limited surgeons who have the experience to successfully operate. Those that can are based in Germany, Turkey, USA and India. The family have decided to go to New York and have set a surgery date of April 26th 2021.
It is a pretty major surgery where they will puncture and collapse her lung to get access to the upper curve. They will then insert two screws to one side of each vertebrae with a double 'cord' for 7 vertebrae and then they go in the opposite side and do a single cord for 6 vertebrae.
Sienna has 4 other young siblings and her Mum Kim will need to travel with her as support for this operation which means the remaining children will need help at home - this is on top of the high cost required for the private surgery, the costs to get there and the ongoing costs of her recuperation over the following months.
Kim is a very community minded person who always gives up her already limited spare time to help out locally as needed - so now it's time for us to give back to her and help her through this stressful time.
PLEASE give in any way you can - big or small donations, every bit counts to help get this little girl back to her active and happy 12-year-old self.
Nicole Callender's involvement (page creator)
A long time friend who, as a mother myself, cannot even begin to imagine how the family, especially Sienna, must be feeling. To be able to give back to the family in return for all the things they have done for the community is a no-brainer.
Use of funds
Funds raised will be used to cover the surgery - travel, travel insurance, accommodation, surgeon fees, hospital stay, MIQ on return - as well as covering childcare and support the remaining family in NZ.
Sienna and I are currently sitting at Auckland Airport about to embark on the first leg of our journey. Our lives have seemed a little surreal lately but being in an airport closed by Covid is a whole new layer of strange! Thank you for all your support, kindness and messages 🙏❤️
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This page was created on 2 Mar 2021 and closes on 31 Jul 2021.