August 20, 2008

Girls Say Thanks to Hospital With Fashion Show

TWO teenage schoolmates who both suffered from a disfiguring disorder have helped to raise more than pounds 2,000 for other youngsters with the same condition.

Charlotte Cooper and Jennifer Wilkins, who are 17 and are in the same class at Central Newcastle High School in Jesmond, had Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis - a curving and twisting of the spine.

They both received surgery within 12 months of one another and will live the rest of their lives with titanium rods in their spines.

The Central Newcastle High School Parents' Association decided to run a charity fashion show with the proceeds being shared between the Scoliosis Association UK, Ward 17 of the Freeman Hospital and the school.

Support flooded in from parents, and local retailers, including Fenwicks, John Lewis and Mannequin, provided outfits.

More than 200 girls and boys took to the catwalk in front of an audience which topped 500.

Cheques were presented at a school assembly where the girls' consultant Mike Gibson accepted a portion of the money of behalf of Ward 17 of the Freeman Hospital.

He said: "Scoliosis is more common than people realise with around one in 50 children affected.

"I operate on around 60 to 80 cases a year ranging from congenital scoliosis to Idiopathic scoliosis and from babies as young as six months old to teenagers.

"I applaud the girls and the Central High Parents' Association for helping to raise awareness.

"The money raised will go towards monitoring equipment for patients immediately after surgery and for equipment for our newly- appointed scoliosis liaison nurse who has been employed to improve communication for patients and parents."

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