We are trying to raise funds for our daughter Giselle.
Giselle is 17 yrs old and has had a very successful Rhythmic Gymnastics career.
She was British and English Champion for 3 years in a row. 2014, 2015, 2016.
Her achievements made even better when you realise, she achieved these titles whilst she had an undiagnosed knee condition. Later diagnosed as Patella Maltracking.
Giselle was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) in 2017, she has a double curvature of the spine with 4 twists!
Giselle has been wearing a 'Gensingen' back brace ... 21hrs a day, everyday since.
Her consultant Mr Julian Leong at the ‘Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’ in Stanmore has been wonderful and so helpful. But as it’s all still as new to us now as it was in the beginning, we still have so many questions.
Giselle also has an old injury that was diagnosed at Stanmore. She broke her back! This sounds scarier than it actually is... Her back has mended itself, one of the lumbar vertebrae at the base of her spine as shifted on top of the next vertebrae along... a common injury for gymnasts and dancers apparently. This may also be corrected by her surgeon if Giselle wishes. The gymnastics was the cause of the 'break', but not the curve and twists.
With regards to the fund raising for Giselle... The initial sum we hoped to raise was £6,000 in order to pay for a ‘Private’ Gensingen Brace, specialist seam-free vests and specialist physiotherapy. This amount was achieved because of all the donations she received. Donations that we are truly grateful for.
The Gensingen brace has improved Giselle’s curves enough for her to not need surgery for now and hopefully ever. Mr Leong unfortunately though cannot guarantee this.
The surgery is ‘fusion’...
The entire length of her spine, from her thoracic vertebrae down to the base of her lumbar vertebrae would be fused onto 2 long metal rods by large metal bolts attached to each vertebrae.
Ideally, we would have liked VBT (Vertebral tethering) for Giselle instead of Fusion... but unfortunately we were unable to raise the funds needed in time (£80,000 for surgery in the UK) and Giselle's spine is now too mature and not flexible enough to accommodate the surgery.
So, should the Gensingen brace work, we would then like to raise a further £42,000.00 to pay for the subsequent ‘private’ braces, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and bone scans she will need as she grows.
We are still researching ways and methods that could help Giselle, because should she eventually need to have the Fusion surgery, her curves and twists being as they are, the entire length of her spine... Giselle would be left with no spinal mobility, no movement whatsoever......
Giselle is a fighter, she is so positive and strong... we are not sure where she gets it from. Though we admire her greatly for her strength of mind, it is going to be a long painful journey for her.
Giselle has joined ‘Dance Warehouse’ in Canterbury for ballet and progressive technique classes, in order to keep her spine supple (which is good to help with the back pain she feels), she also has a daily workout regime to try to help keep her core as strong as possible in order to try to stop her spine twisting more.
Giselle has completed her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, has nearly completed her Silver Award and was made 'Lead Prefect' at her school in Year 11.
At the moment her Rhythmic Gymnastics dream is over, but like she says so beautifully
... “at the end of the day, no one can take my English and British titles away from me and anyway, there’s a new adventure round the corner”…
Giselle is a very special young lady who will succeed in whatever direction she wishes to focus on in the future, but she has a very difficult and long journey ahead.
We are grateful for any help and support you can give to our beautiful and talented Giselle.
Words cannot ever say enough but thank you so very much.
God bless you and thank you. Regards Paula and Marc.