The brave Hartlepool teenager who urgently needs your help to get a vital operation

A teenager is living with a rare abnormality which means his heart is being crushed by his chest wall.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:05 pm

But the people of Hartlepool could hold the key to helping change Joshua Readman’s life by raising funds so he can have surgery.

Joshua, 17, has Pectus Excavatum, which means his chest wall is caving inward and pressing against his heart which is only working at 45 per cent capacity.

Joshua hopes to be a fireman but needs a £10,000 operation to have a curved metal bar inserted in his chest.

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Joshua Readman next to a scan which shows the effect on his heart. Picture by FRANK REID

The bar would remain in him for three to five years and would eventually be taken out.

When it is, Joshua’s chest will hopefully have properly formed.

The full amount has to be paid before the July 14 operation, which will give him 90 to 95 per cent heart function, said his mum Natasha Johnston.

Natasha Johnston. Picture by FRANK REID

Natasha, 38, is hoping Hartlepool Mail readers can push the total over its target.

Thanking everyone who has contributed so far, she added: “I am saying ‘please help me’. Every £1 stacks up. As a mother, I have got to try and get him the surgery.”

The online appeal says: “This surgery was removed off the NHS funding list in February 2019 because they classed the procedure as cosmetic.”

Joshua has lived with the effects of Pectus Excavatum since he was 13 and Natasha said: “He had a slight dip in his chest then.”

Mum Natasha Johnston with her son Joshua Readman. Picture by FRANK REID

By the time he was 14, it had worsened and Natasha added: “I saw the extent of it and he has to live with this every day.”

Pectus Excavatum is estimated to affect one in every 300-400 births.

The caring teenager, who is a student at Hartlepool College of Further Education, has also been a volunteer at Poolie Time Exchange (PTE) for 18 months and PTE is backing his fundraising drive.

Others are helping too.

Joshua Readman with his mum Natasha Johnston. Picture by FRANK REID

On Sunday, the Sandy car park at Seaton Carew will play host to people holding a fundraising event from 6.30pm.

Hartlepool-based Phoenix Kickboxing is also helping,

Joshua said: “I am grateful for everyone who has given their support.”

Support the Go Fund Me appeal by searching for Joshua Readman in need of Pectus Excavatum surgery.

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Natasha Johnston. Picture by FRANK REID
Joshua Readman with his mum Natasha Johnston. Picture by FRANK REID
Joshua Readman.
A scan showing how Joshua's chest wall is pressing on his heart.