Battling Emily beats the odds

Emily Crosby
Emily Crosby

THIS is an x-ray of Emily Crosby’s back.

It’s how her spine looked before an 11-hour operation to correct a double curve in it.

The Hartlepool 13-year-old had to have a titanium rod inserted after doctors found she had one of the worst cases of scoliosis they’d ever seen, said her family.

Her spine had curved so much, her lungs were crammed in between her ribs.

Mum Jackie, 45, of Deacon Gardens in Seaton Carew, said: “They had to pick me off the floor when they told me.

“They showed us an X-ray of a spine and I thought that’s a worst case scenario. Then they told me it was my daughter’s. I cried a lot.”

But brave Emily, then 12, is a fighter. Within days of last June’s intensive operation, she was battling back.

The Dyke House student loves dancing and playing sport. Within two weeks of her operation, she was doing the splits to test whether she could still dance.

Within six months, she was wading through the waters of the North Sea on Boxing Day.

And within weeks, she’ll join school chums in Italy where she’ll be taking part in a netball tournament.

And on top of all that, she’s a keen fundraiser. She has gathered £450 by wading in the North Sea.

It was her way of saying thank you to the spinal unit at the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, which provided her with such sterling help.

But her remarkable fight back from scoliosis did not end there.

She has just finished pantomime with her local dance school at Seaton Academy of Dance.

“We are so proud of her. She is so positive,” said mum-of-three Jackie who also has two sons Alex, 11, and Jack, nine, both pupils at Holy Trinity Primary School.

Jackie, who is married to project manager Glen Crosby, 45, said: “Emily could have had physical, psychological and other problems but she has bounced back.”

She explained how Emily was diagnosed with scoliosis in January last year after her dance teacher spotted the first signs.

“Her dance teacher noticed that something wasn’t right in her back.

“We took Emily to One Life Hartlepool and they referred us to the James Cook hospital.”

Because Emily’s spine curved one way and back again, her problems were not immediately noticeable. But scoliosis meant she needed an immediate operation or her lungs could have been crushed.

Surgeons at James Cook performed the operation. “She went down to surgery at 7am and she didn’t get back until 7.45pm,” said Jackie.

“I am in awe of them and I can’t praise them enough.”

Jackie said doctors had to operate on a double curve which was “one of the worst they had seen”.

She added: “Even though her operation was serious, she was determined to show other children with the same condition that you can still be active and enjoy life.

“She has made a tremendous recovery and is an inspiration to her family and friends. She has so much determination.”

Jackie is so proud of her daughter she has nominated her for a Pride of Hartlepool award, and Emily joins a strong list of contenders.

Entries have flooded in for the awards which is split into 10 categories and which is still open for nominations.

Whether you know a fantastic fundraiser or a community stalwart, we want to hear all about those who deserve praise and have done something special.

The deadline for entries is February 27.

Anyone wanting further information about the Pride of Hartlepool Awards should contact the Mail’s deputy editor, Gavin Foster, on (01429) 239372 or email