By Kelly Ryan

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.”

Comments (3)
  1. Jack King says:

    My son had a Spinal fusion that was from T4 down to L4 when he was 15 years old. Due to surgeries I had in my teens, I knew the best thing was not to baby him during the recovery. Everyday I made him walk up and down the stairs in our apartment building. Every time the doctor raises his weight limit, his household responsibilities changed. That was 20 years ago. Today he works at a job he loves. He drives a semi delivering fuel to gas stations. His range of motion does not limit what he able to do. He states that his hip will hurt at time from where the bone graph was taken. The surgeon even had him speak with a teenage girl who was a cheer leader and was afraid she would not be able to run track anymore. After my son spoke to her and her mother, they were put at ease. He advised them not to take it easy, to push yourself to the limits that the surgeon had set for you.
    Today you cannot tell that there is anything wrong with his back. Everyday he bends, twist, jumps and lifts. The surgery is what you make of it. Oh, he had a 65 degree “S” curve that went from 19 degrees in May to 65 degrees in November of that same year. He has no disabilities. So dont look at it as a “Poor Me” issue but as a challenge to get to where you were.

  2. tampatwenty says:

    Please get in touch with Shriners Hospitals for Children. They are the worldwide experts, and if insurance doesn’t cover it the Shriners will cover it.

  3. I had surgery for scoliosis in 1982 at the age of 13 with pretty much full spine fusion between my shoulder blades and hips using a Harrington rod. Other than not being able to do gymnastic type moves, I have been able to live a full life and do pretty much everything I have ever wanted to do (sky dived, scuba dived, rock climbed, zip-lined, snow skied, water skied, horseback riding, taught aerobics, lifted weights, had children, etc.). I know the surgery has progressed since then and sorry I don’t buy that the $150,000 surgery is the only surgical option for a child to live a full life…that is just not true.

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