Many patients are grateful for having surgery that has changed their life – and a few will then go on to help and support other patients who are undergoing the same procedure.
This is the case for teenager Lottie O’Byrne, who spent a week at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital recovering from spinal fusion surgery, and is now volunteering her time and money to create unique care packages for future patients.
She was diagnosed with scoliosis in May 2018 at 17 years old, and then went on to have surgery in October 2018 under Mr Jayesh Trivedi, Consultant Spinal Surgeon.
Since her surgery, Lottie decided to set up Smiles for Scoliosis, with the aim to put together care packages for other children and young people who are recovering from spinal fusion surgery.
Lottie said: “I had spinal fusion surgery which took Mr Trivedi and his team 7 and a half hours to insert 24 screws and rods in my spine to correct the two curves.
“The result was amazing and has given me so much more confidence in myself and my body as it’s corrected my appearance massively.”
Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side and most often happens when children have their growth spurt between the ages of 10 and 15 years old.
She said: “Recovering from the surgery is challenging – both physically and mentally – and involves learning to do basic things again such as sitting, standing and walking.
“I decided to start the care packages for patients as I know first-hand that it’s a really difficult time and having little thoughtful gifts will help lift the spirits of both the patient and their families.”
Lottie has been purchasing items such as toiletries and blankets for the care bundles, but she’s also had support from a number of businesses who have donated to the packages.
She added: “Yankee Candle and Nakd Wholefoods are just a couple of businesses who have donated a number of their products to include in the packages, which is really amazing.
“The bundles also include inspirational letters from other scoliosis patients and a list of songs to help them stay motivated.”
Ann Bishop, Spinal Specialist Nurse, said: “I’m so proud of what Lottie is doing to help our future patients who have scoliosis surgery – recovery is a tough process and these care bundles will make the world of difference during this time.
“The bundles are so personalised, Lottie has even created separate packages for boys and girls and also includes seasonal products depending on the time of year. She’s really gone the extra mile.
“I’d like to thank Lottie for everything that she’s done. She’s an inspiration.”
Lottie has also set up a Go Fund Me to help her purchase products for the bundles. If you would like to support, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/smilesforscoliosis.
Pictured: Patient Lottie O’Byrne and Ann Bishop, Spinal Specialist Nurse, with the care bundles