Life-saving appeal to help Jessica

Life-saving appeal to help Jessica

1 December 2021

THE parents of a 13 year-old girl are appealing for help to fund life-changing surgery to correct her spine.

More than £7,000 has already been raised towards a private operation to deal with the double curve in Jessica Hughes’ spine.

The mother of the Ballynahinch girl only discovered Jessica’s back was curving in March when she was drying her daughter’s hair one evening.

Parents Zoe and Philip have since been told by doctors that their daughter has a 39 degree and a 54 degree double bend in her spine which will worsen as she grows.

Zoe said: “This has just knocked Jessica for six, she’s a changed girl. She’s a former double junior Irish Dancing world champion who loved sports and being active.

“She used to do Taekwondo and now she can’t do anything like that and it’s affected her mood.”

Jessica’s life has been further changed as she has been told she must wear a spine  brace for 23 hours a day over the next six to 12 months to help the 

curvature from potentially damaging her heart and lungs.

Her parents have been told that Jessica could wait for years on the NHS waiting list to get the operation due to the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the health service and the fact that the curve is not yet damaging her heart and lungs.

Zoe said: “All we want is our wee girl back, so the surgery can’t come soon enough.

“She’s our eldest child and this has badly affected her and us as well. It just came out of the blue. 

“We have been told this adolescent scoliosis can affects young girls between the age of 12 to 18 due to their change in their bodies.”

Once Zoe and Philip realised that surgery was the only answer, they researched getting it done privately.

They have found out that the operation in Turkey could cost as much as £45,000 while if it’s done in Dublin or London, the family would need to raise up to £70,000.

The parents of four decided to launch a Go Fund Me appeal 10 days again and have been overwhelmed by the support they have received.

Zoe said: “We cannot thank everyone enough who has donated so far or who has sent us messages of support. One 

local person anonymously donated £5,000 which was beyond kind.

“Jessica is also been supported by her school, St Colman’s High and Sixth Form College, and friends who have been brilliant, so we just hope that we can get through the phase of her wearing the brace.”

Dad Philip, who is being supported by his local golf club and snooker club, added: “We are asking for your kind 

donations to help Jessica get back to the life which she had before as it has greatly damaged her mentally as a young girl.

“As a family of six we are finding it hard to raise the money needed for her operation and would greatly appreciate your help in getting her closer to having her operation.”

To donate visit https://gofundme/160b1491.