There is help out there, says Tyrone mum

Charlie with some of his braces
Charlie with some of his braces

A County Tyrone mother whose toddler son went through intensive treatment in the US to correct a spinal curve, says she wants to help other parents who find themselves “in the same shoes as we have”.

Donna Ferris, from Ballinderry, this week stressed an early diagnosis of Infantile Scoliosis leads to a better prognosis.
“I want to raise awareness of Infantile Scoliosis, and I also want parents to be aware that there is a treatment available out there that can help to correct the curve in infant spines, which could prevent them ever needing spinal surgeries,” she told the Mail.
Charlie, who is now three years old, has made 14 trips to Shriners Hospital in Philadephia over the past 30 months and continues to improve.
The family recently received the good news that Charlie’s spine is now down to six degrees.
“They have managed to correct the curve in his spine using a gentle non invasive treatment called Mehtas Growth Guidance Casting (MGGC),” said Donna, who added sadly such treatment was not available on the NHS and Charlie would have been facing endless years of invasive spinal surgeries.
“He has had 12 serial Mehta casts applied every eight weeks under General Anaesthetic, and he has now graduated to his second removable brace which he wears for 23 hours a day in order to train his spine to continue to grow straight,” she went on.
Since setting up a social media page about Charlie’s condition, she has been contacted by people from all over the world, including a mum from Omagh, who followed Donna’s advice and took her child to the US.
“I’ve been able to help and guide them when they were so desperate,” she explained.
“Just last weekend we attended the Families First Awards at the Sligo Park hotel where I was nominated for an inspirational person award.
“I ended up winning in this category and had a standing ovation by everyone in the room after I briefly told them of our story.”