Sunday 21 January 2018


Four years ago, a cool, clever and feisty girl called Olivia won our MY BEST FRIEND ROCKS competition with her friend Ella. Now, Olivia is suffering from a serious spinal condition... she and her mum Estelle explain how WE can help...

Estelle says:
I still remember how excited Olivia was to win Cathy Cassidy's MY BEST FRIEND ROCKS competition in 2013... now fourteen, Olivia has been diagnosed with severe scoliosis, a deformity of the spine which has left her misshapen and in a great deal of pain. We first noticed a hump in Olivia's back just before Christmas 2016, and a consultant gave us the devastating news that she had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis which sometimes occurs during puberty for no known reason.

There was no cure, physiotherapy would not help and Olivia would have to wear a thick plastic brace to slow the curvature - but only major spinal surgery could prevent ongoing deterioration and disability. Sadly, conflicting advice and admin delays have held up this urgent treatment and caused great stress to us all. When we heard of a new kind of scoliosis surgery which was less invasive and could restore full spinal flexibility, our hope soared. We travelled to Germany to meet the surgeon, and were certain this was the right thing for Olivia - but it was not available on the NHS. We need to raise £35,000 to fund an operation in Germany in March... can YOU help us?

Olivia says:
I started noticing the pain in the summer of 2016; it is a deep and constant pain and it's hard to stand for long periods. The brace feels quite primitive - it's like a plastic corset, thick, restrictive and unwieldy. I cover it up with baggy t-shirts, and at least wearing it is a positive thing as it supports my spine. I have to wear it every day, only taking it off for sports or showering, but I'm getting used to it. I am worried about the surgery, but we met a girl who had successful VBT surgery and that was reassuring. I would like to start a national campaign to get all primary schools to carry out spinal checks so that problems like mine could be spotted and corrected earlier, and other children wouldn't have to go through what I'm going through now.

Can YOU help Olivia to get this ground-breaking surgery before it's too late? All money raised will be put towards the cost of Olivia's life-changing surgery and associated costs. If the option for VBT becomes unavailable, all donations will be refunded. Please share our story with friends and on social media - any donation, however small, can help.

To donate, click HERE - but please check with your parents/carers first if you are under 18!

Watch Olivia and Ella's awesome entry for MBFR 2013 and please think about donating and help Olivia find the fun in life once again.

Cathy says:
As you can imagine, this story feels personal to me... no fourteen year old should be going through what Olivia is. If your family can donate - or your class at school perhaps - that would be amazing. THANK YOU on behalf of Olivia and her family! Please COMMENT BELOW to leave a message of support for Olivia.


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    1. Lily, thanks for your good wishes... I know they'll mean a lot to Olivia. xxx

  2. I hope the money's raised in time. Good luck to Olivia! Being fourteen myself, I can't possibly imagine being in such pain. It's terrible. Your MBFR award was so sweet and personable it makes me cry. I'll to share this with as many people as possible.

    #sweetreats xx

    1. Thank you so much Sweetreats, sharing will really help, and I know Olivia will value your good wishes. xxx

  3. Sending lots of love to Olivia and her family. Good luck with the surgery, I hope all goes well and you raise the money. I'll be sharing this across my social media and asking people to share.
    Once again sending lots of love and hugs. Victoria. Xx

  4. Hi Victoria,
    Thank you so much for your support and for sharing this with your network. We have been moved by the kindness and generosity of so many people like you.
    Olivia xx



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