NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — Paige Lyon, 14, was active her whole young life, but when she was 12, she was diagnosed with Scoliosis and told she would have to wear a brace.
According to Paige, “When I saw it I was like, I’m going to have to wear this 18-23 hours a day, are you kidding me?”
She says it was a painful time physically and socially.
“I got made fun of at school; I got called the hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Her moderate curve quickly progressed to a 70-degree curve and doctors told her parents her only option was spinal fusion.
Her mother Vanessa was stunned. “That is major surgery, it’s something you don’t come back from. You lose your mobility, your whole lifestyle changes.”
The family did some research and soon learned about a relatively new procedure that was getting good results.
“It’s most commonly known as VBT which is vertebrae body tethering,” explains Paige’s father Chad.
Small screws are placed on the outside of the vertebrae and are connected with a cord, the cord is tightened and the spine straightens leaving the patient still able to move freely.
“A perfect analogy is braces on your teeth but it’s on your spine,” says Chad.
The family checked with doctors throughout California but none were comfortable performing the surgery on her saying she was too old and her curve too serious. The family connected with doctors in the New York area who said Paige would be a good candidate and they could perform the surgery.
Only one problem, the Lyon’s insurance company wouldn’t pay for out of state surgery.
Paige’s dad felt helpless. “$150,000 isn’t something you can pull out of your wallet and say let’s go for it!”
Paige’s mom felt defeated. ”Honestly for me, my faith was tested. Why is this happening to us and why this is happening to her?”
When their local community in Nevada City learned about Paige’s ordeal a campaign began to help Paige get the surgery she needs.
“We pride ourselves in being self-sufficient, we weren’t taught to ask for help and so we had to get over that and to our amazement, people are very giving,” says Vanessa.
The family is about halfway to the financial goal. There has been a yard sale and an upcoming silent auction is scheduled Saturday June 24 from 2-7 p.m. at the Gold Country Gym on 900 Golden Gate Terrace.
The group Achilles Wheel will perform at the benefit, items in the silent auction have been donated by local businesses. The Lyon family can’t get over the generosity of neighbors and friends.
Vanessa Lyon, “They say it takes a village, in our case, it’s taken our whole town and brought us together as a community and we’ll be able to spread awareness about the disease.”
For Paige the spotlight is a little overwhelming, a little embarrassing but she’s grateful for so much support in getting her active life back.
“I’m hoping to get this procedure and live a long and happy life.”