Teen works 2 jobs despite scoliosis pain

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Friends seek to help with medical expenses

After battling scoliosis for six years, a young man from Opp is hoping to get the surgery he needs.

The only problem is the only surgeon who performs the procedure and accepts his insurance is New York City, NY.

“When I was 13 years old and 260 pounds, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. When my dad and I found out about my condition, we were in total disbelief and shock,” Matthew Parker, now 19, said.

“My doctor gave us to options: get a brace or get into healthier shape and let it work itself out.”

For five years, Parker worked on losing weight. He played football, and ran track and cross-country.

“My junior year of high school, things started to worsen. I had full body pains,” Parker said.

His back seemed to worsen as well.

“My senior year became difficult and trivial. I was unable to sit still in class and was always popping my back trying to make it through free-time and lunch,” Parker said.

Parker now works two jobs, at Little Caeser’s and Tropical Smoothie.

To Julie Davis Anderson, seeing how Parker is every day was enough to inspire her to help.

“Matthew is my daughter’s boyfriend,” Anderson said.

“He’s the sweetest young man I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the hardest working young men I’ve ever met, in spite of having severe scoliosis.”

Anderson said that Parker’s two jobs require him to be on his feet the entire shift and in warm conditions, but despite the pain, he always has a smile on his face.

“His scoliosis is so severe that he has lost about two to three inches of his height due to the curve,” Anderson said.

“He went to see a doctor a few months ago in Destin about having the specialized surgery he needs, however the doctor doesn’t take Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance any longer.”

Anderson said that his only hope for correcting his back is traveling to New York City to see the doctor who pioneered the surgery.

The doctor, Dr. Lawrence G. Lenke, has spent 23 years specializing in spinal deformity surgery, and is considered the leading expert.

Parker will have the surgery for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, which involves wires, rods, screws and hooks.

“It sounds frightening, but it’s his only chance of regaining quality of life and hopefully not having to deal with any painful or terribly noticeable deformity,” Anderson said.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis. It affects children between ages 10 to 18. AIS curves progress during the rapid growth period of the patient.

“We’re trying to raise money for his and his father’s travel to New York City and we hope to cover hotels, food and taxis. We’re not sure of how long Mathew will have to stay there,” Anderson said.

“We’re also trying to help defray the amount of wages Matthew’s father will be losing by going up there.”

Anderson said that Mr. Parker’s employer will not pay him during the time he has to travel with Matthew, and he has a wife and children still at home that need his income.

“Matthew goes for his initial consult from July 16-18. The doctor’s office said they’d get his surgery scheduled for December 2018,” Anderson said.

“He’ll be down approximately four to six months after the surgery in recovery, going through rehab and having to go back to New York City for at least one post-surgical check up.”

Anderson said she’s not sure how long Parker will be staying in New York, but it could possibly be up to a month.

So far, Parker has already had his airfare and hotel reservation for this trip covered.

“It was $185 a night and that’s with a 30 percent discount for being there for medical reasons,” Anderson said.

“They still need about $800 for the balance on the hotel, for taxes, food and incidentals for this July trip alone,” Anderson said.

To help with the costs, Anderson set up GoFundMe.

“I just want to see him get the help he needs, he’s such a positive and bright person,” Anderson said.

To donate to help Parker or find out more information, go to https://www.gofundme.com/nbyvp2-scoliosis-surgery-help.