Global Spine Outreach’s volunteers first met Estefania in Cali, Colombia when she was just two and a half years old. She wore braces that covered her entire torso and her ankles. She was unable to walk without assistance, as her legs were too weak to support her little body.
The clinical team discovered that Estefania’s head was not properly attached to her neck, and her spinal cord was getting pinched by the instability. She also had severe scoliosis with a curve measuring over 80 degrees. If left untreated, the spinal cord damage would lead to full paralysis or even early death.
Estefania's first surgery corrected the instability in her neck. Within months of surgery, she could walk with special leg braces and a lot of help from her caretakers. Her smile was contagious. It was then time to address her scoliosis. Because she was so small, growing rods were surgically placed to stop the progression of her scoliosis while allowing her spine and lungs to grow. Once she is full grown, she will need a spinal fusion to maintain her correction. In the meantime, every six months to a year Estefania needs spinal surgery to extend and lengthen her growing rods.
To date, Estefania has had a total of twelve surgeries, including one to potentially save her life and restore her ability to walk, and she will require several more to allow her to continue to grow. Her scoliosis is no longer visible when she walks, runs, dances, and plays with her friends without assistance. Estefania now wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.
Global Spine Outreach is dedicated to Estefania’s continued care as well as the care of so many patients in desperate need of help just like her. Through your support, we can continue to help hundreds of children avoid the perils of chronic pain, paralysis, and early death. Together we can reach thousands of children, and teach others to help thousands more.