A young woman from the Cowichan Valley is looking for the public’s help to have a much-needed surgery outside the country.
Eden Weiss, 16, was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.
Due to her skeletal maturity, Weiss said the only treatment available in Canada for her is “fusion”.
She said that once a spine is fused, especially in the lumbar region, the long term risks can include nerve damage, hardware failure, disk degeneration and chronic pain.
“My parents decided to try alternative treatments to avoid surgery,” Weiss said.
“They spent thousands of dollars on a custom brace, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments. Unfortunately none of these treatments have stopped the progression of my curves. If we leave my scoliosis untreated, the long term consequences are hip surgery, degenerative disk disease, chronic pain and compromised heart and lung function.”
Weiss said that after researching less invasive options to fusion, the family discovered a relatively new procedure called anterior scoliosis correction.
She said this surgery allows the spine to remain flexible while straightening the curve.
“Unfortunately, ASC is not available in Canada for skeletally mature adolescents,” Weiss said.
“We have had to look for a qualified surgeon outside of our country.”
Weiss said a specialist in Germany has reviewed her X-rays and due to her flexibility, she is still a candidate for ASC.
She said that as the spine matures, flexibility is lost and, along with it, her opportunity for this life-changing surgery.
“BC Medical has denied our request for coverage for out-of-country surgery costs,” Weiss said.
“We will have to come up with all the funds needed to cover surgery, airfare and accommodations. Surgery has been scheduled to take place very quickly due to my skeletal maturity. We are in a race against time to come up with the remainder of funds needed before my surgery date, scheduled for March 19.
Weiss and her family need a total of $90,000 and have managed to raise $75,000 so far.
People can donate to assist Weiss by going to https://www.gofundme.com/spinal-surgery-for-eden