Brave Christopher goes back to school after major spinal surgery

Brave Christopher Alford has made a welcome return to lessons at Forton school after undergoing a major spinal operation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Christopher and Susan  show off the fundraising cards
Christopher and Susan show off the fundraising cards

Christopher, seven, from Winmarleigh was in the operating theatre for some 10 hours and has been recovering at home from the operation to straighten his spine.

He was born with achondroplasia (dwarfism) and had developed a condition known as kyphosis (curvature of the spine).

His mother Susan explained: “When he was a baby he developed a bump at the bottom of his spine. As he grew it got progressively worse and we were referred to a specialist at Alder Hey. As it kept just getting worse and worse they finally decided they had to operate.”

She said: “The operation went really, really well. We had four specialists in there in the end.”

Christopher, who has an older brother Alex, nine and younger sister Abigail, four, has been convalescing and extending his walks each day, to the delight of the family, including dad Richard, who owns Black Bear Computers in Lancaster.

Susan said: “You can see an absolutely huge difference – it was a massive bump and now it’s straight and normal. Hopefully it should make walking easier in the long run.”

She said that although Christopher had not complained about his back or experienced any symptoms, the curvature was becoming so great there was concern it would damage his spinal cord.

She said: “It was a 95 per cent curve in the end. He’s got to wear a back brace for three to six months to help it all heal nice and straight and stuff.”

He was in hospital for a week, with medical staff determined to make sure he could walk before allowing him home.

Susan said : “The first thing he did when he got home was probably the Lego and Minecraft. We took a small Lego model with us to hospital – almost as soon as he woke up he was trying to put the Lego together.”

Meanwhile Susan busied herself while he was in hospital making cross stitched cards which she is selling at £2.50 to friends and family and via school in aid of the Hospital.

“When he was having the operation it was something to keep myself occupied rather than sitting round, I knew it would be a very long time and I thought what could I do!

“We are very grateful to Alder Hey and the people involved in it all. Everyone was just so lovely there and kind and caring...they’ve just done so much for us.”