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‘Save Millie’s dancing dream’

Treatment: Millie Birch is hoping that money can be raised to pay for pioneering spinal treatment.
Treatment: Millie Birch is hoping that money can be raised to pay for pioneering spinal treatment.

A teenage ballerina is trying to raise money to treat a spinal condition that could ruin her dancing dreams.

Millie Birch, 14, has been named as a regional champion in both ballet and modern dance. And she has also competed nationally.

But in December she was diagnosed with scoliosis – a condition that causes curves and twists in the spine.

Her dad Matthew, from Stoneroyd Farm in Flockton, said the only treatment available in Britain would involve metal rods and screws being put into her spine, which would affect her flexibility and could cause a lifetime of chronic back pain.

Mr Birch said: “When you cherish the life of your children and their future aspirations, finding out that she had developed scoliosis was heartbreaking and the fact it would affect the rest of her life was difficult to accept.

“Her dance dreams would be shattered with the treatment offered in the UK.”

But Millie’s family found a pioneering treatment – vertebral body tethering (VBT) – being offered in the USA and Europe where instead of rods and bars being inserted, a tether would be screwed to her spine, which would help her flexibility and growth.

The family are now trying to raise £40,000 to pay for the treatment.

Mr Birch said: “This procedure is the only solution that would secure my daughters future in dance and musical theatre.

“This is why it is necessary to travel to the other side of the world for her to receive this pioneering surgery with specialist neurosurgeons delivering this procedure.

“The only solution offered by the NHS is spinal fusion. This is such an invasive procedure and introduced in the 1950s.

“I can’t understand why we cannot join other countries of the world by offering VBT.” The family are hosting numerous fundraising events, including a race night at Hartshead Club in Liversedge on March 11, walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on April 21, and holding a charity beer festival at Church Lane, Liversedge on May 19. To donate to Millie’s cause visit www.gofundme.com/millievbt.