Peter is a two-year-old boy living in Kenya with his parents and five older siblings in a two-roomed house. His father is a public transportation driver while his mother sells vegetables in an open air market. Peter loves to play, and is able to keep himself entertained with his imagination.
Peter has a painful and swollen mass on his back that worsens with physical activity. His mother says that he hates getting dressed in the morning due to the pain. He is unable to sleep on his back, and his swelling is sensitive to light touch and pressure. Peter’s parents took him to a local clinic for further evaluation. Using imaging from an MRI, he was diagnosed with tethered spinal cord syndrome.
Tethered Cord (TC) is a disorder in which the spinal cord is “stuck” to a structure within the spine such as dura, scar tissue from a previous operation, a bony spicule or even a tumor. Although most cases are congenital, the condition may not become symptomatic until later in life as the cord continues to grow and lengthen.
Peter’s doctors recommended he have surgical intervention to release the tethered cord, and significantly reduce his risk for numbness in his lower limbs and unsteady gait. The total cost of the procedure is $1,165, and covers the procedure, medications, supplies, five days of inpatient care, and three days of physical therapy. Peter’s family needs financial assistance in completing payment, as his parents have already exhausted their savings on the MRI for Peter’s diagnosis.
“I do not know how to ease the pain my son is in,” explains Peter’s mother, “but I wish and pray that it will be well with him, and that he will grow up normal with no pain at all.” Following his surgery and physical therapy, Peter is expected to have his back pain completely resolved and resume normal development for his age.