‘Su­per­girl’ Emma’s brav­ery re­warded

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - 24 Hours - By han­nah gray

BRAV­ERY in the face of ad­ver­sity is why this week’s Pride in Peter­bor­ough win­ner has her very own front page.

In­spi­ra­tional Emma Wells (14) has fought her way back to fit­ness af­ter be­ing forced to wear a back brace for 18 months.

Emma was only 11 when she re­ceived the shock news that she was suf­fer­ing from sco­l­io­sis, which is cur­va­ture of the spine.

For the King’s School pupil – a sport­ing star who has rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain at kick-boxing – the news she would need to wear a brace for 23 hours a day to straighten up her twisted back came as a shat­ter­ing blow.

But brave Emma, who lives in Pas­ton Lane, Wal­ton, said de­spite find­ing it “re­ally scary” she was de­ter­mined not to let it hold her back.

She said: “The hard­est thing was go­ing back to school for the first time wear­ing the brace. It was re­ally hor­ri­ble and un­com­fort­able.”

Af­ter 18 months, as Emma’s con­di­tion wors­ened, she was faced with a stark choice of con­tin­u­ing with the brace or hav­ing a risky op­er­a­tion on her spine.

She chose to have the op­er­a­tion at Easter 2009 at Ad­den­brooke’s Hos­pi­tal in Cam­bridge.

Emma added: “It was re­ally scary mak­ing the de­ci­sion but the op­er­a­tion meant I could get maybe get back to do­ing my sport. I didn’t want to let it con­tinue to hold me back, I just wanted to get on with my life.”

The ir­re­press­ible young­ster even sneaked off to dance in the Honey­hill’s Got Tal­ent

be­hind her par­ents’ show back.

Proud mum, Wendy Fore­man (44), called her daugh­ter “su­per­girl” and said she had been as­tounded by her tenac­ity. She said: “She got the news she would have to wear the brace just as she was about to start se­nior school, which is a sem­i­nal moment.

“The con­di­tion is as­so­ci­ated with growth spurts and Emma is al­ready 5ft 8ins and grow­ing and she had to sleep in the brace. Be­cause she is so sporty, she begged them to let her have an hour out of the brace so she was al­lowed to play non-con­tact sports like net­ball in school. Ba­si­cally, there is noth­ing that is go­ing to keep her down.”

The fam­ily are sports mad, with Emma’s older brother Harry, who is a Peter­bor­ough District ham­mer throw­ing cham­pion, played for Eng­land Un­der 16s at rugby this year, as well as bag­ging a train­ing con­tract at Le­ices­ter Tigers.

Emma made her re­turn to com­pet­i­tive ath­let­ics for the Nene Val­ley Har­ri­ers on Sun- day, when she was in su­perb form and won two of the U15’s events – shot and dis­cus – in the East Anglian League.

Now, hav­ing al­ready rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain at the World Am­a­teur Kick­box­ing cham­pi­onships in 2006, Emma has set her sights on the Olympics in London 2012.

She added: “Be­ing back in com­pe­ti­tion was re­ally tough at first but I re­ally en­joyed it. The next thing is to see if I can start fight­ing again and I hope to be able to rep­re­sent my coun­try again soon.”

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