Family will need help after 12-year-old’s scoliosis surgery

The life of a local competitive gymnast has changed dramatically since she was diagnosed with a severe case of Scoliosis.

  • Dec. 8, 2015 5:00 p.m.


Barry Coulter

The life of a young Cranbrook girl — a competitive gymnast — has changed dramatically since she was diagnosed with a severe case of Scoliosis.

Merrit, 12, will be undergoing the first of two surgeries at the end of this month, and the intensive care required after this will put a great financial strain on the household. But the community can help!

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve in the spine. It can also cause curves to either side of the spine, which makes it twist like a corkscrew.

Merrit’s mother Selena said that when Merrit was diagnosed, her spine was at 22 degrees, and went to 35 degrees in less than three months.

Along with this, Merrit’s ribcage is rotating, putting pressure on her heart and lungs.

The girl is in chronic pain everyday, and breathing with difficulty. She wears a backbrace everyday for 18 to 24 hours, since her diagnosis in 2013.

Pictured: An x-ray showing the curvature in Merrit’s spine caused by Scoliosis

“Her everyday life has changed so much,” said Selena. “Over the last year and a half we have made many trips to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary — as many as three times a month. This cost has become financially impossible for our family, from gas, hotels, food, brace fees, and daily living like rent and groceries.”

Merrit is booked for surgery December 31, 2015 — that’s how she’ll spend her 13th birthday (she will undergo her second surgery when she is 18). The surgery will involve removing three ribs from both sides of her ribcage, and inserting metal rods from her lower back to the bottom of her neck, as well as metal rods from her hips to her remaining lowest rib.

She will then be on bed rest for for upwards of four months, and she will need full-time care. Her mother Selena will be the one taking this on, so she herself will be unable to work.

“I have ot ake the next four months off work, to give Merrit round the clock care when we return from Children’s Hospital. We are forever grateful for any donations. It would be much easier to have the financial stress lifted so we could concentrate on the most important thing — Merrit’s health.”

A GoFundMe account to help the family out has been set up at

“Even though Merrit is in pain every day, she still puts forth the effort to wear a smile. She’s a very determined young lady. She is still a ray of sunshine, even though most of her days consist of a heating pad and painkillers for her back and hips.

“No child should every have to endure this pain.”

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