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10-year-old Megan seeks life-changing surgery

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screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-35-10MEGAN, a 10-year-old girl from Pembrokeshire, is currently awaiting life-changing surgery in Philadelphia following her diagnosis with scoliosis at just six-years-old.

Over the past year, Megan’s spine curvature has increased from a 50 degree curve to 62 degrees, a significant curvature for a 10-year-old that will require spine straightening surgery.

Megan is currently wearing a Boston Brace 23 hours a day.

“She hates it; it’s a constant battle to get her to wear it,” said Megan’s mum, Laura.

“But we try in desperation that it will hold her curve until she stops growing,” she continued.

If Megan’s curve progresses, growth rods may have to be inserted into her spine. These rods will have to be extended every six months until she has stopped growing.

When she has stopped growing, Megan will have to have her spine fused; this will result in her losing a lot of her flexibility.

Megan would also be unable to continue gymnastics, a sport that she loves.

However, Megan’s consultants aren’t sure that her brace will hold her curve through a growth spurt.

Laura has now discovered a life-changing surgery called VBT (Vertebral Body Tethering) that has been producing some amazing results.

This fairly new surgery is best performed on younger patients whilst their skeleton is immature and their curvature is less than 70 degrees.

The surgery will mean that Megan would maintain her flexibility and avoid further surgeries in the future. VBT also offers a quicker recovery time and a better quality of life.

Up until recently, VBT was offered in the UK as part of the NHS; however, it has now been cancelled. Megan’s only option now is to seek surgery abroad.

Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia is currently offering VBT to international patients that fit the criteria.

Providing Megan fits the criteria, her mother would like her to travel to Philadelphia for the treatment.

“Providing Megan is a candidate, it would be amazing, but we have to get her there and be able to stay in Philadelphia for possibly six weeks and then be able to return if there are any issues and for follow ups every year,” said Laura

The cost of the trip and medical expenditures is quite a lot and unfortunately, as Laura has two other children, this is more than she can afford.

Laura has now started a GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/megans-vbt-surgery) with the hope of raising the £20,000 needed.

Any excess money raised will be donated to Shriners Hospital and other GoFundMe pages with children in a similar position as Megan.

Laura now needs to raise the money as quickly as possible as a sudden growth spurt could suddenly knock Megan off the 70 degree cut-off, preventing her from being a candidate.

“This means so much to us because our children are our entire world; we would move heaven and earth to make sure they have everything they need,” said Laura.

“Megan needs this; without it, she will have to spend her teenage years in a brace that makes her angry and depressed and then have to have a surgery that will force her to give up gymnastics – the one thing in life that she loves,” she continued.

Laura and Megan would be eternally grateful to anyone who donates to their cause, helping Megan to get the life-changing surgery that she needs.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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