My name’s Katie and I’m 16 years old. I am currently a patient at Evelina London and have been under their care since I was 12 years old.
To celebrate the 150th birthday of Evelina London, I am writing to tell you all my experience of being a patient and the amazing care I received!
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. For those of you who may not know what scoliosis is, it is a curvature of the spine. Unfortunately, I had a double curve, which basically meant my spine was a bit like an ‘S’ shape. I was then referred to the specialist spinal team at Evelina London, where it was decided that I needed to be regularly monitored at intervals of around every six months. If the curves reached a certain degree, I was told that I may need to undergo major surgery on my spine. Unfortunately, X-Rays revealed that both curves in my spine had got worse with one curve reaching over 50 degrees. This meant that I had to be put on a waiting list to undergo surgery, which was a very scary prospect. In January 2017, I underwent spinal fusion surgery to correct my Scoliosis. This involved placing titanium rods and screws along my spine to straighten it.
I stayed on Savannah ward as an inpatient for around a week. It was a very difficult recovery but all the nurses were lovely and took great care of me, they became almost like friends to me.
I remember the first time I stood up and walked after my surgery. It was extremely painful and felt strange since my spine had been straightened which was a new position for me, but every day with the help of the physiotherapists and nurses, I was able to walk a little bit further and even climb some stairs!
The care I received from all of the spinal team was amazing, so I decided that I wanted to say thank you to the hospital that helped me so much. The first thing I did was a sponsored haircut. I cut off around 10 inches of my hair, which I donated to the Little Princess Trust (who make wigs for children who’ve lost their hair due to cancer treatment) and raised £680 for Evelina London. I have also given public talks at various events where I have raised awareness of Evelina and the amazing work they carry out every day, including two Inspiring Youth Conferences held at the hospital, a charity gala in London where I presented to over 300 people and at a Christmas event for St Thomas’ Hospital and Evelina London, which was held in a cathedral. This was out of my comfort zone but something I am very proud to have achieved!
I am also a member of the Youth Forum where I attend meetings with other young people, we discuss projects that we believe will help other patients coming to the hospital.
Aside from my charity work with Evelina London, which I thoroughly enjoy, I also love to be creative and my hobbies include: drawing, baking and making videos/animations, including this one I have made specially to celebrate Evelina London’s 150th birthday!
This video has no audio. It is a stop-motion animation of cut-out letters forming the words ‘happy birthday Evelina’ on screen, followed by balloons floating upwards, candles on a birthday cake being lit, then ‘1869’, ‘2019’, and ‘150 years’.
I would love to work at Evelina London in the future as it’s a very special place to me! Although I’m not entirely sure which job I would like to do, I am interested in a few different roles, one of which is marketing, as I love designing things.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive THANK YOU to all of the incredible staff that looked after me including the nurses on Savannah ward, my specialist spinal nurse Rachel and my surgeon Mr Lucas, I am extremely grateful to you all.
Finally, a piece of advice that I’d give to other patients who may be under the care of Evelina London is the following: never give up, don’t let your medical condition stop you from achieving your goals because you can achieve anything you put your mind to!
Thank you for reading!