The family of a teenage girl with a degenerative spine condition has launched an urgent appeal to raise £175,000 for a life-changing operation.

Lucy-Mae Beacock was born with Spina Bifida and has been under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital ever since.

Last year doctors confirmed that the 14-year-old, from Barnet, had stopped growing at 4ft 7” and developed Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine which, without correction, will progressively worsen. She requires a new procedure called Vertical Body Tethering (VBT), currently unavailable in the UK. The procedure involves screws being inserted into each vertebra, tethered with a cord and pulled taut to straighten the spine.

Without this treatment, Lucy-Mae’s curve, currently at 55 degrees, will increase and stiffen. This will leave her bent over to one side.

Lucy-Mae Beacock on stage

Lucy-Mae Beacock on stage

She must therefore travel to America for the VBT treatment. However, the cost, estimated at between £150,000 and £175,000 is the key hurdle and the family cannot afford it.

Lucy-Mae’s mother Debbie said: “Lucy-Mae has been heroic in terms of what she has had to go through already but if we can’t correct this curvature of the spine it could prevent her from doing what she loves – acting, dancing and performing on stage. Aged seven she joined Chickenshed Theatre and, after playing a lead character at age eight, she declared that she wanted to be on the West End stage.

“With typical determination, at nine she auditioned and won the lead role in the RSC’s production of Matilda the Musical.  She took to the stage for her first performance as Matilda in London’s West End when she was only 10 and played the role for eight months.”

Debbie added: “I have been amazed by how generous the Jewish community has been. Lucy-Mae’s school, JCoSS, has been unbelievably supportive and has offered to hold fundraising events. And our wonderful rabbi, Miriam Berger at Finchley Reform synagogue, helped us to organise the fundraising appeal and spread the word. I have also written to a number of Jewish charities to ask if they would be happy to help.”

To support the appeal, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/lifechanging-op-for-lucymae