Teenage girl’s innovative donation helps South Coast Spinal Unit
One South Coast family’s experience of their daughter’s life-enhancing surgery has turned into a generous donation for Southampton Children’s Hospital.
Lucy Brimecome, 14, who lives with her parents and older brother near Chichester, was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2018. Previously active and sporty, the increasingly debilitating symptoms left Lucy in constant pain, forcing her to give up much-loved hobbies like rock climbing, tap and ballet dancing.
Eventually unable even to sit in one position for any length of time, she faced radical surgery to fuse her lower spine. The whole family were understandably apprehensive leading up to Lucy’s operation, but have praised surgeon Mr Evan Davies and all the staff on the hospital’s G3 spinal ward for their exceptional care and expertise throughout the whole process.
Unable to drink normally whilst lying immobile in recuperation, Lucy also risked recovery-threatening dehydration. Researching into the benefits of enabling patients with reduced mobility to drink freely and independently, dad Paul found NRS Healthcare’s Hydrant Drinking Bottle, which enabled Lucy to drink whilst lying flat. This simple piece of equipment transformed Lucy’s recovery, reducing the need for invasive drips, needles and IV fluids.
Nurses and physios on the unit also heralded the benefits of the bottle, which supported the aims of March’s National Nutrition and Hydration Week. Happening at the same time as the donation, it promotes the importance of nutrition and hydration in the medical, caring and therapeutic professions.
Seeing the impact the Hydrant had on his daughter’s recovery, Paul approached NRS Healthcare, (who supply disability, mobility, therapeutic and living aid products), and together with Mark Moran MBE, from “Hydrate for Health” who designed the bottle, they agreed to donate 60 Hydrant bottles to the unit. These will provide vital hydration to other spinal patients in their recovery, allowing staff to monitor fluid intake for more adaptive post-operative recovery plans.
Brave Lucy was also determined to give something back, and the opportunity arose when, just 8 weeks into her recovery, she performed in a dance show at Portsmouth Guildhall. Lucy explains: “I’ve been dancing since I was 4, and when my teacher Louisa Chandler at Melana Dance in Emsworth sent videos of the show dances to me in hospital, this became my goal. Although no one believed I’d be well enough in time, dancing on that stage was my dream come true.”
Lucy and Louise arranged for a raffle to be held at the show, raising over £500, which Lucy proudly presented to the G3 spinal ward at her 3 month check-up in March.
Lucy’s dad Paul says: “We cannot thank Mr Davies and all the team at the spinal unit enough for their amazing care and dedication which I am sure aided Lucy’s much speedier recovery. The work they do is often despite lack of funds and resources like the Hydrant bottles, which we have seen make such a difference to care and recovery.
“We also want to thank Mark Moran at “Hydrate for Health”, NRS Healthcare, Louisa at Melana Dance, and everyone who donated, supported and wished us well. However, the real star of the show is of course Lucy. She’s been through so much, she now has 2 titanium rods and 14 screws in her back, but seeing her light up the stage at her dance show was such a reward for her bravery, determination and compassion.”