John Francis Delina (Francis) is a twelve year old boy who has been diagnosed with severe scoliosis (severe thoracolumbar dextrorotoscolios with kyphosis). The severe 110 degree S curvature of Francis’ spine will eventually result in pressure on the lungs. As the curvature progresses, doctors have determined that it is likely that his lungs will be eventually be punctured as the pressure increases. Paralysis is also a foreseeable risk in the future should the condition go untreated.
Due to the progressive nature of his condition, Francis has already had to change schools because the other school’s stairwells proved too difficult for him to navigate. In his new school, he has already been told that he can not participate in sports. He has also endured endless teasing as a result of his condition.
A complex surgery is the only chance for Francis to be able to lead a normal life. Francis’ mother arranged for him to be evaluated by a surgeon in the Philippines who is able to perform the required surgery in a complex staged process.
Unfortunately Francis’ family is unable to afford the care he needs. He lives in the the Philippines where his ailing grandmother, age 80, is the primary caregiver for not only Francis but also for his brother and his six cousins. His mother, along with his aunts, work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Francis’ father passed away in 2008. His brother and cousins work in the fields to help make ends meet (Francis’ scoliosis prevents him from assisting them).
Francis just wants the chance to play basketball like other boys his age. He wants to be able to not be singled out and teased for his condition. His mother Melanie (Lanie), a domestic worker in Hong Kong, wants desperately for her son to have a future - the chance to grow up and lead a normal work, school and family life.
Francis has undergone thorough diagnostic testing, in Manila, which includes: X-ray, MRI, CT Scan and pre-operative testing. According to the surgeon’s report, “Owing to the severity of the three curves, we will need to do a long fusion at the back that would extend all the way down to the pelvis, do removal of the facet joints at the back (facetectomy) lamina (Smith Peterson osteotomy), and remove some ribs on the prominent side of the posterior thoracic cage (thoracoplasty). This is the first stage surgery. Also, for us to get a higher degree of correction, I prefer to go through the chest and do soft tissue releases on the front of the spine (i.e. discectomy) with application of bone graft or cage. We will again revert to the back to adjust the posterior instrumentation. (Second stage)”
The surgeon has estimated that the initial cost of the required procedures will be USD 40,000. This estimated cost does not include professional fees for other doctors who will be involved with care or additional fees that may include a lengthy hospital stay or a stay in the ICU beyond the estimated 5 days. Additional expenses include travel expenses for his mother Lanie to return to the Philippines to be with him during the surgery as well as additional post-operative recovery costs, rehabilitative care costs, as well as follow-up care.
Please help Francis get the basic care he so desperately needs.