The Perth dance community has rallied to support young dancer Brittney Morris to raise money for her much needed back surgery.
The 14-year-old was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis three years ago, and in the recent months her condition has considerably worsened and is now at 64 degrees.
Brittney’s mum, Michelle, has said Brittney “lives for dancing” and has made it her life since beginning at the age of two. However, she now has to wear a painful brace for 22 hours a day, leaving her with bruises and sores.
Australian doctors have recommended spinal fusion to restore Brittney’s posture. This would require a titanium rod and screws realigning her spine from her neck to the bottom of her lumbar spine. The highly invasive surgery has a long recovery period and also limits the flexibility of the spine, reducing the curve and movement. This would no longer allow Brittney to dance in the way she wishes.
After extensive research, her mum has found a solution which is not offered in Australia – vertebral body tethering. Three American doctors have each said Brittney’s condition qualifies for this surgery. Although still new, the surgery has a shorter recovery time and allows the patient to still have spinal flexibility. The downside to the treatment is that as an international patient, it would cost the family between $197-$300k.
Her friends, family and the Perth dance community are urgently raising funds to help Brittney reach her target and get the surgery she needs to continue dancing.
“Brittney’s curve is progressing every day and is causing more pain daily,” Brittney’s mum tells Dance Informa. “We are running out of time with only a few weeks to get enough money to head to America. If we do not raise enough, it will mean the only option is to have spinal fusion in August in Australia, which will leave her with very limited flexibility. I have been totally blown away with the support from all over the world – the dancing community, my friends and family – they have all come together for my daughter who lives and breathes dancing, and I’m so humbled that so many people are behind my girl and my family.”
You can donate money and help Brittney achieve her goal through her GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/3uf228w.
By Elle Evangelista of Dance Informa.