Fort St. John Gofundme campaign seeks to help 3 year-old in Edmonton hospital

Madison Shepard, who is undergoing treatment in an Edmonton hospital for congenital scoliosis. Gofundme campaign photo.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the family of a 3 year-old who has been receiving treatment in an Edmonton hospital for the past 20 months.

Madison Shepard was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine that is caused by a birth defect, at the age of 6 months. Congenital scoliosis is far less common than the type of scoliosis that is often diagnosed in adolescence, and occurs in only 1 in 10,000 newborns. Three months later, Madison Shepard was admitted to hospital with pneumonia for the first time. She has had pneumonia a few more times since then but never needing hospitalization again. After receiving no referrals from her doctor in Fort St John, Madison’s mother Sharon took it upon herself to find their own specialist in Edmonton.

In January of 2015, Madison and her parents Bryan and Sharon travelled to the Stollery Children’s Hospital at the University of Alberta with her two sisters Caitlin and Brooklyn to consult with the specialist. In March of that year, Madison had to return to Stollery Children’s to undergo CT and MRI scans, and see a neurologist about having corrective spinal surgery.

In January of this year Madison was scheduled to have a Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rod, or VEPTR rod put in. The VEPTR is used to help open up Madison’s ribs, so that her lungs and other organs are able to grow normally. Madison is required to have the rod lengthened every six months for the next 12 yrs or until she is done growing, at which a discussion will be had about having her spine fused together. Back in June, the family went in for Madison’s first adjustment of the VEPTR rod. A complication from the surgery led to the VEPTR rod coming off, breaking three of Madison’s rib.

In order to correct the improper alignment caused by the broken ribs, Madison will require two to three months in traction at the hospital in Edmonton. Madison’s mother Sharon has had to give up working at her home business while staying with her daughter, while her father Bryan has had to get a babysitter in order to continue to work. Madison’s aunt Lesli set up a Gofundme campaign to help support the family financially while her niece undergoes treatment at Stollery Children’s Hospital. As of Thursday morning, the campaign has raised $1,150 of the $5,000 goal. A link to the Gofundme campaign can be found here: