An illustrator has captured her emotional journey battling a spinal condition which almost claimed her life.
Lauren Davis was only 10-years-old when she was diagnosed with scoliosis - a curvature of the spine.
The condition was so severe medics warned she would need to undergo an operation within days if she was to have any chance of surviving.
Unknown to the youngster and her family the condition had led to her heart and lungs being crushed.
She went on to have a further six operations - including one on her stomach - in a bid to make life more bearable.
Now, the 23-year-old who is studying illustration and design at Sunderland University has put pen to paper to write a children’s book based on her experiences in a bid to help other youngsters suffering from the same condition and is on the lookout for a publisher to help turn her dream of having her work published into a reality.
“They said the operation could leave me paralysed but if I didn’t have it, I would die.Lauren Davis
Lauren, from Crieff Grove, Jarrow, said: “I started to get pains when I was about eight, but they just said it was growing pains. It wasn’t until I was 10 when the GP suggested scoliosis and referred me to the Freeman Hospital.
“When I got there they took me in the room with my mam and they sat down and said they needed to operate asap because it was crushing my heart and lungs.
“They said the operation could leave me paralysed but if I didn’t have it, I would die.
“I had to take a year out of school because of it. It was really hard as people didn’t understand, they just kept saying it was just back pain but didn’t understand how much pain I was in.
“I was called names and bullied for the way I walked due to the pain and the curve in my spine.
“It got me really down as I didn’t really understand what was going on. I just felt so tired and depressed all of the time.
“After my first operation it felt like my whole back had been crushed for weeks and weeks and all I could do was lie in bed. That’s when I first started drawing.”
As part of her university course Lauren was able to write and design a book of her choice so she chose to do it on her experiences as a youngster growing up with the condition.
The book entitled Daisie’s Curve tells her story of the ups and downs of living with scoliosis in the hope it will help and inspire others not to give up hope.
Despite the operations, Lauren still has limited movement in her legs and struggles to carry out everyday movements with ease most people take for granted including sitting and standing.
“What I hope through the book is to help those suffering from the condition but to also raise awareness of scoliosis so people can see what it is about and understand it more.
“Luckily, this is something I’ve always wanted to do, so it hasn’t destroyed any career choices I had.
“I do feel a lot better about things now. I don’t know what the future holds and if I will need further operations but I am in a much better place.
“My mam, Corrina, has been a rock to me, she has been so supportive and it must have been so hard for her to make the decision she had to - I really can’t thank her enough.
“Also the medical staff, including the consultant Dr Mike Gibson, at the Freeman and the Royal Victoria Infirmary for their support.”
Scoliosis is the abnormal twisting and curvature of the spine. It can develop at any age but is most common in children aged 10-15 years old.
It is thought around three or four in every 1,000 children need treatment for the condition which is more common in girls than boys.
In some cases the curvature corrects itself, but in some a back brace is needed or an operation.