Saanich nine-year-old Madeleine Murray a day before major surgery to fuse her spine and remove the halo rods she's been wearing for a month.

Last minute loan affords life-saving surgery

Saanich's Madeleine Murray, nine, is now recovering from surgery for collapsed neck and curvature of the spine in Florida

A last minute loan has afforded the Murray family to go ahead with a life-altering surgery to remedy a collapsed neck and curvature of the spine for nine-year-old Madeleine.

Despite a highly successful community campaign that raised $195,000 of the $400,000 they’ll need to cover the price of two surgeries and rehabilitation at the Paley Institute, where the Murray family has secured the treatment they believe is Madeleine’s only hope of salvaging a functional, able-bodied life. However, they were dramatically short of the funds needed just days before Madeleine was scheduled for her second surgery.

She is now recovering from the Tuesday surgery, which only happened because a family friend stepped in with a $125,000 loan to cover the costs, said Saanich’s Dan Murray, who rejoined his wife Laura and daughter Madeleine in Palm Beach this week.

“Madeleine was supposed to go for her second surgery (Nov. 14) but [wasn’t] able to go because we [were] shy of about $125,000 [Canadian],” Murray said in a series of emails. “We have to pay for the hardware that Madeleine needs before the hospital will allow her spot to be booked.”

The surgery will fuse part of Madeleine’s spine to prevent any further curvature of the spine that is occurring. Madeleine has lived with arthrogryposis since she was born. However, the condition commonly known as clubfoot has presented a different set of problems for Madeleine. She’s had multiple surgeries on her legs and hips since birth, some successful, and some not. This time last year when she had extendable rods inserted her neck, but her neck muscles grew weak and it the rods were unable to correct her curvature of the spine. Instead, her neck collapsed. It created a rare situation with her chin resting on her chest from June of this year until now she went to Florida in early October.

To cover the initial surgery, the Murrays remortgaged their house and cashed in their life insurance policies.

At that point, the Murrays had lost faith in the B.C. health care system with regards to Madeleine’s rare condition. They found a specialist in Florida, Dr. David Feldman, who assured them he had worked successfully with youths who also have this rare condition.

In light of the money shortfall and the critical timing of the surgery (Madeleine has been in halo traction since she arrived there in early October and now needs to have the halos removed) Feldman waved a substantial portion of his fee to make the surgery happen, Murray said.

“They have discounted her second surgery and I think Dr. Feldman has greatly reduced his part as well. The humanitarian side down here for her has been incredible.

“[But] time has caught up to [Madeleine]. She has to go to the next step.”

There has been no MSP funding to date as the Canadian health system has not referred or approved the Murray’s decision. Murray, however, hasn’t lost hope on that front either. In the meantime the family’s Gofundme page https://www.gofundme.com/MadeleinesSurgery is currently at $321,000, which includes $125,000 from the bridge loan.

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