South Shields teen who loves to dance overcomes crippling condition

Lucy Wilkinson has overcome major spinal problems to join the line-up for the Art of Dance show at the Customs House next week.
Lucy Wilkinson has overcome major spinal problems to join the line-up for the Art of Dance show at the Customs House next week.
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A teenager who “lives to dance” is preparing to step back on stage – just months after being struck down with a condition which could have left her unable to walk.

Lucy Wilkinson, of Strathmore Gardens, South Shields, will be among the line-up at The Customs House, in South Shields, next month for the Art of Dance show – produced by her dance school teacher Suzanne Stewart.

Lucy Wilkinson can dance again after undergoing major surgery.

Lucy Wilkinson can dance again after undergoing major surgery.

The 13-year-old has overcome idiopathic scoliosis – a curvature of the spine which can lead to sufferers being crippled – and had to have a six-hour operation in February.

Lucy, a pupil at Whitburn C of E Academy, has made such a good recovery that she is now able to dance again – though her condition means she has had to give up her other great love of gymnastics.

Her health battle began after her mum, Deborah Flood, spotted that “something wasn’t right” with her back and she was referred to specialists at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Miss Flood said: “She lives to dance. It is all she wants to do and she was never going to give it up. She has been dancing since she was seven.

I noticed something wasn’t right with her back last September. It was in an S shape. If it hadn’t been diagnosed, she could’ve been crippled.

Deborah Flood, mum

“I noticed something wasn’t right with her back last September. It was in an S shape. If it hadn’t been diagnosed, she could’ve been crippled.

“In February she had two titanium rods and fifteen bolts put in her back.

“It was very frustrating for her in hospital. After the operation, she had been home for just one day when she had to have more surgery due to an infection in her back.

“But the doctors have said her improvement is the best they have ever seen.

“This is due to how flexible and fit she is due to her dancing and gymnastics.”

Lucy still has to go for regular check-ups but is now looking forward to the future with renewed hope – and is still bidding for a career on stage.

Miss Flood, who has an older daughter, Penny Wilkinson, 16, is urging other parents to be aware of the condition.

National Scoliosis Day is held this year on Saturday, June 27. The Art of Dance takes place at The Customs House, in Mill Dam, South Shields, on July 5.