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Girl thanks hospital with donations collected at her 7th birthday party

Posted on 04/01/2011 12:00am

Girl thanks hospital with donations collected at her 7th birthday party

Terrace Standard
2011-01-04
A GIRL, who had neurosurgery at BC Children's Hospital, made her birthday celebration a way to say thanks by asking for donations to the hospital instead of presents.
Erin Billson, whose birthday is December 9, raised $735 at her 7th birthday party at the Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club November 29.
The grand total rose to $850, thanks to a donation from friends who couldn't make her party but gave money online, says her mom Leanne.
"Erin underwent neurosurgery on August 10th of this year at that hospital, so this was a cause that was close to her heart," says Leanne, adding that the money her daughter raised was sent directly to the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Erin suffered from a Chiari Malformation, which caused her cerebellum tonsils, or lowermost part of the cerebellum, and part of her cerebellum to hang down into the area where the cranial fluid flows down around the spinal cord, explains Leanne.
Instead, it was flowing into the spinal cord, which caused a large syrinx, or cavity, in the spinal cord, which caused other side effects, says her mom.
The decompression of the chiari malformation consisted of basically cutting off the lowermost part of the cerebellum and enlarging her skull around the opening to the spinal cord so that the fluid could resume its natural flow around the spinal cord and not into it, says Leanne.
The surgery lasted four-and-a-half hours and Erin spent five days in hospital.
She and her parents stayed in Vancouver for another week in case something went wrong, adds Leanne.
The surgery was a complete success and the cavity in her spinal cord has shrunk quite significantly, she adds.
"We just had a checkup for Erin at the beginning of December and we will be going back in April for one as well,"
says her mom.
The cavity in Erin's spinal cord caused pressure on her spine, resulting in scoliosis - Erin has a 37 degree curve to her spine, says her dad Russell.
A curve up to 20 degrees is considered OK and if it's between 20-40 degrees, the doctors start to consider surgery, he adds.
"With the pressure off her spine, as Erin grows her spine will straighten," says Russell.
"Hopefully to less than 20 degrees."
The BC Children's Hospital only does six or seven of these surgeries each year, he adds.
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