A devoted mum has taken on a charity challenge after her teen daughter’s curved spine left her in extreme agony.
Angela Brown was horrified to see her 13-year-old daughter, Erin Brown, suffer brutal back pain from her adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
The schoolgirl needed to undergo spinal surgery in Edinburgh before being looked after by Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.
Now her 41-year-old mum, from East Kilbride, has run her first ever 5K race to raise money for the charity who supported her daughter.
Angela said: “It was just amazing to have that facility free-of-charge. The day of Erin’s surgery was the longest day ever, so having a private space to go to, on-site, was invaluable.
“The surgery went well but recovery was tough and for the first few days I didn’t want to leave her side.
“At first, she couldn’t shower or even sit up on her own and she felt sick and dizzy.
“Staying in the house meant I could be there for her within minutes.
“It also meant that I could get a good night’s sleep and be fresh and ready to look after her the next day.”
In July 2021, Erin woke up one morning complaining of back pain and Angela noticed her daughter’s spine appeared curved.
She took her to the out-of-hours hospital, and they suspected it was scoliosis but advised them to go to their GP for a referral.
Then just days later Erin woke up during the night in so much pain, Angela had to rush her to A&E and it was there that she was given an x-ray.
It was then revealed she had an advanced curve in her spine and she was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
Erin was referred as an outpatient to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, an hour’s drive from the family home.
Angela, who is also mum to Sophia, 15, said: “Erin has always been such a fit and active girl, you would never have known she had a back problem.
“She’s full of energy, enjoys taking the dog out for walks, trampolining, swimming, and going to cadets.
“After her diagnosis, she was often in a lot of pain and had to be seen by a pain nurse.
“She had to take lots of tablets and couldn’t always participate in PE; it was horrible to see her like that.”
After several months of monitoring Erin’s condition, doctors decided that due to rapid progression, operating would be the best option and she was booked in for surgery on January 7, 2022.
While Erin was admitted, her parents Angela and Gary were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, on the top floor of the hospital.
Erin was discharged after six days and continued to make a good recovery at home, returning to school three weeks later.
Meanwhile, Angela decided she wanted to give something back to Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and embarked upon a running challenge to raise much-needed funds.
She said: “While we were in the house, I met lots of other families, all of whom spoke about how great the facility was. Some of them were staying in the house long-term and I came to realise just how vital the provision is.
“I’m not a natural runner but I wanted to give myself a challenge, so I took up running and trained for the Run Scotland Strathclyde 5K on May 1.
“My initial fundraising target was £300 but I’ve smashed that and have been amazed by everyone’s generosity. My fundraising total now stands at £901, which is just over the amount it costs to pay for a day of running the Edinburgh House.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities UK is an independent charity, which operates 13 houses across England, Wales, and Scotland, providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation.
The houses keep families together, close to their children in hospital.
They provide a place to sleep, cook and retain some sense of normal life; a lifeline for families at a very stressful time, especially when they are far from home.
A Ronald McDonald House saves each family an average of £1240 in out-of-pocket accommodation expenses.
Helen Zollinger, community fundraiser for Scotland at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: “The cost of funding a day varies between our houses as they are all different sizes.
"In Edinburgh, it costs around £900 to run the house for just one day. Angela’s fundraising is phenomenal, and we are so grateful for her support. To show our gratitude, we are inviting Angela and her family to visit the house for a special thank you from our team.
"We’re so pleased Erin has recovered well from her surgery and wish her all the best for continued good health.”