Mother of 12-year-old scoliosis sufferer Hayden Kelly - ‘Help send our beautiful, smart, funny Hayden to Turkey for surgery’

A Strabane mother has appealed for help from the public to raise funds to send her 12-year-old boy to Turkey for life-enhancing back surgery.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:11 pm

Last autumn young Hayden Kelly was diagnosed with scoliosis.

An X-ray report from the radiographers at Altnagelvin clearly showed that the young Knockavoe School pupil’s backbone was twisting and curving to the side.

Though not normally serious, the condition does in some cases need surgical intervention.

His mother Shauna told the ‘Journal’ that the extent of the curvature of Hayden’s back made it clear to her that an orthopaedic operation was necessary to safeguard the health and quality of life of her ‘beautiful, smart, funny boy.’

This conviction was only strengthened when Hayden was examined by a private consultant.

“We made a private appointment to find out how bad the scoliosis was.

“It was measured at 60 degrees which is counted as emergency surgery,” she told the paper.

Hayden was fitted with a Boston Brace - a type of thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis (TLSO) or back brace - that is used to stop the progression of scoliosis in advanced cases.

Horrified by the prospect of waiting for years for surgery within the public health system in Ireland, Hayden’s family decided to pursue alternative options.

“Basically we are in a position now where we have no choice but to take him to Turkey to get his surgery because we are not guaranteed a timeframe here.

“They are telling you that it is up to two years on the waiting list to get urgent surgery,” said Shauna.

Scoliosis can affect anyone but most often develops first in pre-teens and teenagers of Hayden’s age.

“He’s 12 years old. It’s not something he’s had from birth,” Shauna explained.

She believes time is of the essence as Hayden is a rapidly growing boy and she is concerned this could exacerbate the condition.

“He’s growing like crazy and the more he grows the worse it gets so I don’t really have time to mess about.

“We are just doing fundraising now to get him over to do the surgery as soon as possible. I’m kind of worried about his health deteriorating because scoliosis can cause all sorts of problems whenever it is not fixed,” she added.

Shauna has set up Hayden’s Appeal in order to raise funds for what is likely to prove a costly trip to Istanbul.

To date, the generous public of the north west have already raised almost £2,000 of an overall target of £50,000.

This will enable Hayden to received treatment under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Ahmet Alanay, one of the leading spinal surgeons in the world, with whom Shauna has already been in touch.

That Hayden happens to live with autism is another factor further complicating the Kelly family’s predicament.

“We are in a crazy situation where we have to travel with our children. I’m not the only one. There are a few parents in the same position.

“I’m just waiting on an X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) result now so I can send that over and they can give me a date for when they can do it.

“It’s all go at the moment with the fundraising,” Shauna said.

To contribute to Hayden’s fighting fund visit the Facebook page

Speaking directly to the public, Shauna said: “Dr. Alanay recommends Hayden needs surgery as soon as possible, and said he would be happy to help.

“We desperately need your help, to help Hayden get to Turkey for his really important, life-changing operation before his health deteriorates further.

“All donations big or small will be greatly appreciated and mean the world to us.”

She said she hoped that by speaking out she would shine a spotlight on a little understood condition.

“I wanted to share the story, make it public and get it out there to raise awareness for other people. I’m not sure if many people know about scoliosis. It would be good to get his wee story out there for that reason.”