Katie gives back

Posted on Friday 21st July 2017
Katie Braybrook with specialist nurse Rachel Hunt and surgeon Mr Jonathan Lucas

Katie with specialist nurse Rachel Hunt and surgeon Mr Jonathan Lucas.

After spinal surgery at Evelina London, Katie Braybrook decided she wanted to give back to the hospital that changed her life.

Katie’s mum, Sue Braybrook from Romford in Essex, first thought something might be wrong with her daughter’s spine when she was 12. Her posture was starting to change and Sue worried that Katie might have scoliosis, a condition that causes the spine to curve. She’d had the condition herself as a child and knew which symptoms to look out for.

Sue took Katie to her GP who agreed that Katie should be referred for tests. X-rays of Katie’s back revealed she had idiopathic scoliosis. Her spine was curved in two places, meaning that she couldn’t stand up straight anymore. If the curves in Katie’s spine reached 40 degrees she would need surgery to correct it. After monitoring her growth, doctors discovered that the curves in Katie’s spine had got worse, with the angle of one curve reaching over 50 degrees.

Sue recalls the moment when she realised Katie would need surgery.

“It was quite daunting but I’d had the surgery myself when I was younger and I knew it was necessary. I think it helped Katie knowing that I’d been through the same thing.”

Katie’s dad John agrees: “It was scary but Katie needed the surgery and Mr Jonathan Lucas, her surgeon, had a great reputation so we knew Katie was in safe hands.”

In January this year Katie underwent posterior scoliosis correction surgery, meaning that metal rods were placed along her spine to straighten it. Katie remembers waking up after surgery.

“Recovery was really hard but the team were fantastic and had me sitting then standing within a day of surgery. After just a few days I was already walking around and taking the stairs.”

Rachel Hunt, Katie’s specialist spinal nurse, supported her throughout. Katie says: “Rachel was always there to help and guide me and nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Her enthusiasm and dedication has been inspiring.”

Rachel adds: “Katie has been incredible throughout the whole process from diagnosis, during her hospital admission and in her recovery. She has been so positive and it has been a pleasure to look after her. ”

Evelina London has a team of healthcare professionals who specialise in the treatment of bone and joint problems. We have the largest dedicated children’s orthopaedics unit in the region, conducting around 500 operations every year.

Mr Jonathan Lucas, the surgeon who operated on Katie, says: “Katie had quite a significant curvature of the spine that would eventually have led to a significant deformity with pain and disability in the future. Surgery was really the only option for Katie. Her surgery went very satisfactorily and I’m delighted that all has gone so well for her, she has been a wonderful patient.”

Once she was able to go home, Katie decided she wanted to say thanks to Evelina London.

“I was sat at home in recovery and I started thinking about how I could give back. Mum and I thought about it a lot and then suddenly it hit me, a sponsored haircut! That way I could do double the amount of good by fundraising for Evelina London and donating my hair to The Little Princess Trust. They make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness and I’ve got a lot of hair so I thought it would be another good way to help others. It didn’t worry me about cutting it off – it went all the way down past my waist so even with a big haircut it would still be very long.”

Katie fundraised at school and in her local area to gain sponsors for her haircut. In total she raised £680 for Evelina London and donated over 10 inches of hair to The Little Princess Trust, which will be used to make a wig for a young girl or boy who has lost their hair to cancer.

Mr Lucas says: “I would like to thank Katie so very much for raising such a marvellous sum of money.”

If you’ve been inspired to organise your own fundraising visit our fundraising website.