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Cleckheaton law firm to help in £40,000 ballerina operation

14-year-old ballerina Millie Birch requires surgery for a debilitating back injury.
14-year-old ballerina Millie Birch requires surgery for a debilitating back injury.

A Liversedge law firm is putting its weight behind a campaign to send a talented young ballerina to the US for life-changing surgery.

The family of 14-year-old Millie Birch, who has a badly curved spine caused by debilitating spinal condition scoliosis, hope to raise £40,000 ahead of revolutionary treatment not offered in the UK.

Millie's spine is badly bent and requires surgery.

Millie's spine is badly bent and requires surgery.

They’re being helped along the way by Alison Barnes, director of Barnes Family Law (inset), who is helping to organise a number of fundraisers to achieve the family’s goal.

“We’re helping because it’s the right thing to do,” Alison said, “I’m a mother first and foremost and it’s a case of rolling your sleeves up and doing what you can to help.

“If one of my children was struggling with this condition I’d like to think other people would help us, too.”

NHS procedures offered to Millie involve spinal fusion and the insertion of metal rods and pins onto her spine, ultimately limiting her movement and creating life-long chronic back pain.

As a gifted, award-winning ballerina and dancer who already has West End performances to her name, doctors fear this treatment would effectively kill her dreams of a future career traveling the dance and theatre world.

Instead, Millie’s family have managed to get her onto a surgical list for a procedure that which minimises the risks associated with most other surgeries of this type, keeping her dancing dream alive.

The treatment will take place at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.

Millie’s dad Matthew said, “This hospital is a charity organisation funded by donations from the public.

“We would love to raise as much money as possible to donate to this fantastic hospital who will hopefully be providing Millie with this life changing spinal surgery, together with supporting Millie’s care pre-surgery in travel and accommodation costs, medication costs and post-operative care both in the US and back in the UK for the following years of her growth.”

A ‘GoFundMe’ page was set up at the start of the year and has already raised over £4,000. It is receiving donations and can be found at www.gofundme.com/millievbt