A TEENAGER is looking forward to Christmas after getting life-changing surgery thanks to the kindness of a stranger.

Autumn Bradley, from Guisborough, is now making a good recovery after getting the surgery earlier in the year to stop her breastbone from growing inwards – which was squashing her heart and lungs.

Autumn and her mum Sarah Grierson, along with Teesside surgeon  Joel Dunning and MP Simon Clarke have been campaigning for her to get the surgery on the NHS.

Read more: Girl, 14, whose lungs are being slowly squashed, campaigns for NHS treatment

However, a kind stranger from the Isle of Man stepped in after reading her story and paid for the operation to be carried out privately.

Sarah said: "We are absolutely over the moon that Autumn is now recovering well and is improving every day. 

"Autumn was only able to get this treatment thanks to a private donation from Ivan, a gentleman from the Isle of Man who saw her story in the press. I can't thank him enough for what he's done for Autumn and our family - it was a true act of selflessness.

"We also want to thank Joel Dunning and everybody at James Cook University Hospital and Newcastle RVI for looking after Autumn with so much care."

The Northern Echo:

Autumn had the operation in September at James Cook University Hospital to correct Pectus Excavatum, a condition which causes the breastbone to grow inwards.

The teenager, who had previously been a county level runner and keen athlete, had developed life-limiting complications as a result of the condition.

Prior to her surgery she had struggled to even blow up a balloon.

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But while treatment for Pectus remains available on the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, an NHS England policy decision in 2019 means it is not currently available in England - regardless of how serious the symptoms. 

She was able to get the surgery thanks to an individual donation from "Ivan from the Isle of Man", who had read about Autumn's case.

Last year, Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, secured a Parliamentary debate to raise Autumn's case and ask for a review of current NHS England policy. As a result, NHS England is now reviewing its policy. 

Sarah added: "What's important now is that NHS England are reviewing the current policy for the sake of other children in England who have this condition. I want to thank Simon for all the work he did to drive that review forward." 

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: "I am delighted that Autumn has finally received the treatment she needed.

"I want to offer huge praise to Autumn's surgeon, Joel Dunning, for everything he did personally to achieve this outcome and I would also like to thank the private donor whose kindness made this happen. 

"More broadly, I am proud to have raised this issue in a Westminster Hall debate and that this has resulted in a policy review. It is now right and proper that this is considered independently by those best placed to understand the medical and commissioning complexities at hand.

"Finally I want to thank both Autumn and Sarah for the bravery and steeliness they have exemplified throughout. I wish them both every success and happiness in the future."   

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