BOUND FOR THE BIG APPLE: Amelia Robinson, who has not let surgery stop her from volunteering in America	    TM pic
BOUND FOR THE BIG APPLE: Amelia Robinson, who has not let surgery stop her from volunteering in America TM pic

A DALE teenager is looking forward to the trip of a lifetime to New York after battling back from severe health problems.

Amelia Robinson, 17, had to undergo brain surgery followed by an operation to rectify a severe curve in her spine after being diagnosed with scoliosis four years ago.

She has recovered well enough to take her place as a volunteer youth worker at a camp for inner city children on the outskirts of the Big Apple – and after all she has been though, Amelia says she can’t wait.

“I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13. My dad noticed I was limping. I went to the doctor’s and then my mam took me to a physio and within five minutes I was diagnosed,” she said

Amelia said she always knew she was “wonky” and limped after walking or taking part in sports or other activities.

It was only when X-rays showed the extent of the curvature of her spine that she was told she would require surgery.

However, an MRI showed that the Barnard Castle youngster was also suffering from Chiari malformation, a condition which causes the skull to press on the brain and force it downward.

So, a year before her back operation, Amelia needed surgery to remove tissue from the back of her head.

Last October, she was admitted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where she had metal rods inserted in her back to rectify her scoliosis.

Since then, it has been a long and slow recovery.

“I was wheelchaired out of hospital and for the first few days I could not do much. I felt poorly and sick for the first month,” she said.

“Then after a couple of weeks, I started going for a few walks around Barney and a couple of months later I started to feel back to myself.

“I had this new body and it was quite hard adjusting to that. It also felt quite isolating. Everyone one else was living their lives, I felt trapped.”

About a month after the operation, Amelia received details of the New York trip from the charity UK Youth.

“It gave me something to aim for. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will help me build my confidence and skills,” she said.

She also aims to use her experience to inspire others who may be in a similar situation.

“I now want to show other young people waiting for surgery and with similar conditions that you can be confident in yourself and make the most of life,” she said.

Amelia will be part of a group of volunteers from across the country that she has yet to meet.

“I am looking forward to everything – making new friends and meeting new people.

“I have never been to America, let alone New York.”

Since signing up for the trip, she has been raising the £1,800 needed to cover costs through an online fundraising page and events at The TCR Hub, where her mum Rachel is chief executive officer.

Amelia’s final fundraiser is a quiz at The Hub on Sunday, June 23, at 6pm before she leaves for New York on June 29. Tickets are £7 and can be booked online at uk.

Anyone wishing to support Amelia’s fundraising effort can do so at https://gofund .me/035e7427.

Amelia said she wanted to thank everyone who had supported her fundraising efforts.