Please, Help A Teenager Pay For His Spine Surgery

William Penn once said, “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

Hello, my name is Aunner Calderon, I am a student attending Western Michigan University studying Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry. Today, I am here to ask for a kind donation to help a family member who is in need of an expensive spine surgery.

Orley, a 15-year old cousin of mine, lives in Guatemala and recently received the news (along with his parents) that he has a condition called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). AIS is an abnormal curvature of the spine that appears in late childhood or adolescence. Instead of growing straight (as it should), the spine develops a side-to-side curvature, usually in an elongated "S" or "C" shape; the bones of the spine are also slightly twisted or rotated. The term "Idiopathic" in the condition’s name means that the cause is unknown; however, it is suggested that the abnormal spinal curvature may be related to hormonal problems, abnormal bone or muscle growth, nervous system abnormalities, or other factors that have not been identified.

When this condition is caught at its early stage, the patient can be treated with bracing or casting programs that may help by allowing growth while minimizing increases of the side-to-side curvature. In very few cases, the need for surgery may be delayed and, in some instances, avoided. However, in the majority of cases, bracing or casting is rarely effective, and the need for surgery is unavoidable. When Orley’s condition was caught, it was already in the severe stage, which indicates that for him, surgery is the only option at this point.

According to the Mayo Clinic (, patients with severe AIS usually experience the following complications:

· Lung and heart damage. In severe scoliosis, the rib cage may press against the lungs and heart, making it more difficult to breathe and harder for the heart to pump.

· Back problems. This condition causes severe pain in the lower back.

· Appearance. As scoliosis worsens, it can cause more noticeable changes — including uneven hips and shoulders, prominent ribs, and a shift of the waist and trunk to the side. Individuals with scoliosis often become self-conscious about their appearance.

If left untreated, AIS can worsen and have serious long-term physical and emotional complications. Severe AIS can cause the spine to rotate, which can lead (as mentioned earlier) to decreased lung capacity and heart problems. Individuals with untreated AIS may also develop a condition called Spondylosis, which is an arthritic condition where the spinal cartilage thins, joints become inflamed, and bone spurs may develop. Spondylosis can cause severe pain if the inflammation causes vertebrae to press on spinal nerves. Severe AIS can also have a significant emotional impact on the individual, especially young children and adolescents.

Given that Orley’s case is so advanced, he is now in the need of a prompt surgery. Unfortunately, Orley lives in Guatemala, which is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas such as health and development. Orley’s surgery will cost Q. 140,000 (Guatemalan currency), which roughly equals $18,000. Orley and his family live in a rural area, and work in the fields. His parents make around Q. 50 a day, and for them it is truly impossible to pay a Q. 140,000 surgery when they barely have enough to put food on the table.  Because of this, I am kindly asking for a donation to help Orley pay for his surgery. I am hoping to raise $10,000 for now, but it would be a blessing if more is raised as it would truly help this family.

Please help me give Orley a better quality of life. Let’s together help him achieve his dream of one day becoming a Bank Manager without any spinal deformities, heart and lung problems, back pain, and low self-esteem. Please, help me give Orley the best Christmas gift he could ever have – his spine surgery.  


Here is a video that explains the condition as well as the type of surgery Orley will be getting. I please encourage you to watch it.


God bless.


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Aunner Calderon 
Grand Rapids, MI
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