Iona back home after ma­jor back op in Turkey

Fam­ily busy fundrais­ing to pay £40,000 for pro­ce­dure

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ju­dith Ton­ner

Glen­boig school­girl Iona Ste­wart is back home fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful 12hour op­er­a­tion in Turkey to im­prove se­vere curves in her spine.

The 12-year-old un­der­went a pro­ce­dure called ver­te­bral body teth­er­ing ( VBT) to re­verse the ef­fects of sco­l­io­sis – and mum Yvonne says the re­sults to date are “beyond our wildest ex­pec­ta­tions”.

She re­turned home on Thurs­day to be greeted by a wel­com­ing com­mit­tee of fam­ily and friends, just a week after key­hole surgery at Aciba­dem hos­pi­tal in Is­tan­bul which straight­ened the curves in her back from 75 and 60 de­grees at the top and bot­tom to 20 and 10 re­spec­tively.

Now her fam­ily is get­ting set to con­tinue fundrais­ing the £ 40,000 cost of the op­er­a­tion – an al­ter­na­tive to fu­sion surgery, in­sert­ing me­tal rods into her spine – with a fur­ther se­ries of events this month.

Yvonne told the Ad­ver­tiser: “We’ve been ad­vised by the sur­gi­cal team that they’ve man­aged to im­prove her curves to 20 de­grees at the top and 10 at the bot­tom; and as Iona still has some grow­ing to do, this will get even bet­ter over the next year or two.

“We’d hoped for a 50 per cent cor­rec­tion at surgery, so what they’ve achieved is just mirac­u­lous and we’re beyond grate­ful to have found Dr Ah­met Alanay and the amaz­ing team at the spine cen­tre.

“Surgery was more com­plex than first thought as Iona’s lum­bar spine was quite rigid – Dr Alanay did a dou­ble tether to avoid tether break­age and fur­ther surgery – and due to the com­plex­ity of the op­er­a­tion, it ended up be­ing nearer 12 hours than nine.

“Iona spent only half a day in in­ten­sive care and on day three, she was al­ready walk­ing and do­ing laps around the ward. She has work to do to stretch and strengthen the mus­cles that were con­tracted by her curves and to learn how to hold her­self with her new straighter spine.”

The St Am­brose High pupil was ac­com­pa­nied to Turkey by par­ents Yvonne and Ian, and had a spe­cial sur­prise just be­fore her surgery as older sis­ter Ja­nine also flew in to lend her sup­port.

She has also re­ceived sup­port in­clud­ing an email from Bear Grylls and tweets from celebri­ties in­clud­ing Pat Kane of Hue and Cry, tele­vi­sion star Lor­raine Kelly and even Barcelona FC.

Yvonne said: “All the love and sup­port has helped Iona feel less alone on this jour­ney and kept her spir­its high know­ing so many peo­ple are cheer­ing her on ev­ery step of the way.

“The last few hours of her op­er­a­tion were the most dif­fi­cult for us; it was al­most 1am UK time when the sur­gi­cal team called to say all was well and Iona would be moved to ICU, and hun­dreds of peo­ple were logged into Face­book for up­dates.

“We just feel so blessed and so grate­ful to ab­so­lutely ev­ery sin­gle per­son who has made this surgery pos­si­ble.”

Iona’s fam­ily set about rais­ing the thou­sands re­quired for VBT, which is not cur­rently avail­able in the UK, after learn­ing that it could pro­vide her with more flex­i­bil­ity and al­low her to re­sume her hobby of danc­ing.

They have so far raised more than £10,000 – in­clud­ing £1000 each from lo­cal chip shop Marino’s and the Tar­tan Army chil­dren’s char­ity, plus the cost of pre-surgery x-rays and con­sul­ta­tions from the Sara Thack­eray char­ity.

Next on the cal­en­dar is a zum­a­bathon and prize draw at Glen­boig com­mu­nity cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 22, fol­lowed by a race night at the Big Shop in Glen­boig on Novem­ber 3 and a gala ball at Ham­p­den Park on Novem­ber 9.

It in­cludes a three-course meal, live en­ter­tain­ment and auc­tion and raf­fle prizes in­clud­ing 12 VIP tick­ets for Strictly Come Danc­ing at the Hy­dro in Glas­gow next Fe­bru­ary, signed foot­ball strips and a bot­tle of 32-year-old Celtic whisky signed by Billy Con­nolly.

The fam­ily’s Go Fund Me page to­tal now stands at nearly £8000, and Yvonne added: “Say­ing thanks just isn’t enough; we’re blown away by how gen­er­ous peo­ple have been and we’ve over­whelmed by the re­sponse.

“Our amaz­ing fam­ily and friends have been sell­ing foot­ball cards, do­ing spon­sored ac­tiv­i­ties and do­nat­ing prizes – it’s just in­cred­i­ble and we’re hugely hum­bled.”

Wel­com­ing com­mit­tee Iona was greeted by sup­port­ive fam­ily and friends when she re­turned home to Glen­boig one week on from her surgery

On the mend Glen­boig young­ster Iona Ste­wart trav­elled to Turkey to un­dergo spinal surgery to im­prove back curves caused by sco­l­io­sis

Spinal pro­ce­dure Iona’s fam­ily is rais­ing £40,000 for the surgery, car­ried out in Is­tan­bul by Dr Ah­met Alanay

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.