Langley teen travels overseas for back surgery

The Foster family is asking for donations for their son’s international spinal surgery.

A Langley teenager is saying goodbye to the rigid back brace that has helped him walk for most of his life after receiving a life-changing surgery in Barcelona, Spain on Nov. 5.

Sixteen-year-old Jared Foster was diagnosed with scoliosis when he was just 14 months old.

At four years old, he began to have seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy.

And at five years old, Jared was diagnosed with autism.

Despite many obstacles in his young life, Jared and his family flew to Barcelona, Spain, where Jared received an Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC) which is currently unavailable in Canada.

Jared’s parents Allie and James Foster, said the surgery went better than expected.

“We wanted to normalize his life as much as possible,” said James.

“Jared is healing fantastic, and is amazing us and the surgeons every day with how quickly he’s healing,” added Allie.

The ASC took approximately six hours, and within a day, Jared was already on his feet without his back brace on.

Allie explained that in Canada, Jared was offered a spinal fusion to correct his scoliosis.

After extensive research, Allie decided that ASC would be more suitable because it’s a “much less invasive approach than fusion,” and it allows for more flexibility.

“The spinal fusion, although it would help correct the curve and prevent it from getting worse, it’s still not one hundred per cent reliable and there’s a lot more risks with the fusion compared to the ASC. Because he has autism I wanted to set him up the best we could for his future.”

The Foster family began looking for an ASC surgeon in April.

After consulting with Dr. Olaverri at the Clinica Corachan Hospital in Spain, the family decided to proceed with the surgery.

“He seemed really positive, and we heard great things about him. He’s very warm and caring about helping his patients,” said Allie.

The Fosters are staying in Barcelona for the next three weeks while Jared recovers in the hospital.

“He surprised everyone with how quickly he’s recovering. Dr. Olaverri is calling him his star patient,” said Allie.

While the first few days post-operation are going well, the Fosters are now faced with a large loan they had to take out to cover the costs of the international surgery, hospital visits, travel costs, and accommodation.

The total cost of their expenses is around $120,000, so the family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to offset the costs.

Donations to the Foster family can be made online at www.gofundme.com by searching for the “We got your back” Jared! campaign.

Once the Fosters return to their home in Aldergrove, Jared will go to physiotherapy to retrain his body with his new body alignment.

“He’s only in the early stages. We haven’t even dealt with physiotherapy yet and he looks amazing at this point,” said James.

The family anticipates Jared will return to class at DW Poppy Secondary school in the new year.

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