Mile-long swim marks year since major spine surgery

Maddie Andrews will be taking on a mile-long swim
Maddie Andrews will be taking on a mile-long swim

A 17-year-old student from Upper Beeding is set to take a plunge and paddle one mile to mark exactly one year since she underwent a major spinal operation.

Maddie Andrews, of Saltings Way, Upper Beeding, is hoping to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital to ‘give something back’ to the charity and thank the team for the ‘wonderful’ care she received.

At the age of 16, Maddie was diagnosed with an extremely severe case of scoliosis – a condition in which the spine twists and curves to the side.

Due to the 84-degree curve to her spine, Maddie’s shoulders were uneven and both her right shoulder and ribs stuck out from her side – causing ‘a great deal of pain and discomfort’.

Her condition was so severe that major surgery was recommended.

Maddie said: “If I didn’t go through with this, it would have meant suffering continuous pain and discomfort all through my adult life.”

With her GCSE exams just around the corner, Maddie underwent major spinal surgery in August, 2016, followed by a second operation last December, in which stainless-steel rods were inserted and connected to her spine with screws.

Maddie said: “2016 was an incredibly tough time for me both physically and mentally.

“I couldn’t have got through without my incredible surgeon and the truly amazing team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, who were simply wonderful, so caring.”

To mark exactly one year since her surgery, Maddie will spend this evening (Friday, December 15) swimming 65 lengths – totalling a distance of one mile – at the pool at Steyning Leisure Centre, in Horsham Road, Steyning.

Maddie, who studies digital music technology at Northbrook College in Worthing, described the charity as a ‘fantastic cause’ and said: “I’m looking forward to raising as much money as possible.

“I’ll be grateful for any support and for any amount that I raise.”

Click here to donate to Maddie’s cause