Barley teenager gets moving for charity just three months after surgery
Teegan Chilton (15) will be doing a one-mile walk, a two-mile bike ride and a small swim to raise money for Accrington-based charity DanceSyndrome's "We like to Move It Move It" campaign, which has been encouraging people to stay active during the pandemic.
Teegan, who first started experiencing pain from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, when she was seven years old, has taken part in dance classes since she was able to crawl.
She has danced a variety of different styles, and has competed as a solo performer in several competitions.
It is her love of dancing, and because she understands the positive impact it can have on a person's wellbeing, that Teegan decided to support DanceSyndrome's fundraising, despite her own health challenges.
Teegan suffered several years of pain before finally getting a diagnosis that led to her having corrective surgery.
Teegan said: "I first got really bad pain at the age of seven, whilst out Christmas shopping. The pain became continuous by the age of 10. I went for an unrelated appointment at the hospital and we told them about my back and the doctor said that I had kinks in my spine but not to worry and if it kept bothering me then to get it checked.
"We got it checked and I had an x-ray and it was confirmed that I had scoliosis.
"When I first got referred, my curves were at 36°. He said that if it was under 25° then they could have given me a brace, but, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do about it.
"The only thing they could do was monitor it until it got to the point where I needed surgery. Once it got to that point I needed a spinal fusion operation to correct the curves. Before the surgery the curves were between 60 - 70°. Now it is less than 10°."
"The impact scoliosis has had on my life has been quite significant. I didn't like the way my body looked or how uncomfortable it felt sitting on hard chairs.
"I was in pain every day for four years, so this caused me to have a lot of time off school meaning I got behind and people noticed I was different.
"I had to always have a chair with a back for support and a few comments were made to me about being disabled. But I think it will have a positive impact on my future, it has made me a more resilient person and I am a lot more confident in my body now."
Speaking about the fundraising, Teegan said "I am doing a one mile walk, two mile bike and a small swim. This is a big achievement for me because I am doing all this less than three months after my operation. I lost a lot of muscle mass and it has been hard to get that back but fundraising is something I've done for a long time and I enjoy helping other people."
DanceSyndrome is a multi-award winning dance charity that delivers inclusive dance workshops and dance leadership training, as well as inspiring performances that demonstrate a focus on ability rather than disability.
The charity was founded by Jen Blackwell, who has Down's syndrome, because she found it difficult to find opportunities in community dance due to her disability.
DanceSyndrome managing director Dawn Vickers said "Teegan is an incredible person and we have been so proud to have her on our fundraising team!
"Her strength and determination is a reflection of what we often see in our Dance Leaders so we were thrilled that she chose DanceSyndrome to benefit from her fundraiser.
"Her fundraising will make a real difference to our charity at a challenging time when we are having to frequently adapt to the changing COVID regulations. We've just returned to indoor dance and we couldn't have done that without the support of fundraisers like Teegan!"
Teegan and her team of fundraisers are currently at 70% of their £1,000 target. Anybody wishing to support them can visit www.justgiving.com and search for DanceSyndrome.