‘Thank you for daughter’s life-changing surgery’

Olivia Wheatley, Gemma Bower and Shelley Wheatley EMN-160701-101800001
Olivia Wheatley, Gemma Bower and Shelley Wheatley EMN-160701-101800001
  • Mum raises almost £4k for hospital that treated daughter’s spine condition

A mum has raised thousands of pounds to thank specialist surgeons who saved her young daughter from being paralysed and transformed her life.

Six-year-old Olivia Wheatley, from Waddingham, was born with spinal kyphosis, a condition causing the top of the spine to appear more rounded.

Aged just four, Olivia was transferred to a specialist spinal surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital - and was given the devastating news that she could become paralysed at any point.

Olivia’s mum, Shelley, said: “At our first meeting we thought we were just having a check-up but he (surgeon Ashley Cole) said he was going to need to operate.

“I just burst into 
tears.

“He said if she didn’t have the operation she could be paralysed by the 
condition.

“We couldn’t know when, but that it could happen at any point in her life.”

Olivia had her operation - which involved filing down part of the spine and fusing three bones together - on December 30, 2014.

Shelley said: “She was in there for three hours, and that wait was awful.

“You just feel so anxious and helpless because you know there is nothing you can do.

“When she came out, it was like complete 
relief.

“I just wanted to check that she could move her toes, that she wasn’t 
paralysed.”

Olivia was in a bright pink spinal brace for three months after her operation, but has since gone from strength to strength.

She can now ride a bike and get involved with trampolining and sports with her friends.

To thank the hospital for Olivia’s care, Shelley and friend Jonathan Waite took on a 10k X-Runner obstacle race to raise money for The Children’s Hospital 
Charity.

And the pair raised an incredible £3,858, which they have just handed over to the 
charity.

The Children’s Hospital Charity events fundraiser Tonya Kennedy said: “We were truly amazed at the incredible fundraising efforts of Shelley and Jonathan.

“This really is an amazing total for just one race, and we can’t wait to put the money to good use in the 
hospital.

“It will make a huge difference to our patients, who come from all over the country and further afield for our specialist 
care.”

The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield is one of four stand-alone children’s hospitals in the UK.

It cares for 245,000 patients from across the UK and beyond.

The Children’s Hospital Charity raises money to buy more life-saving equipment and fund vital research and treatment for thousands of children from across the world.

For more information on The Children’s Hospital Charity, including details of how you can get involved with fundraising, visit tchc.org.
uk.