AN ABERCARN teen who underwent a life-changing operation to correct an 85 degree curvature of her spine which could have paralysed her or claimed her life, is overjoyed after raising more than £2,000 for the charity which helped her.

Thirteen-year-old Callista Dowling was born with a neuromuscular condition, a type of congenital myopathy which results in a weakness of the muscles and also scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

In May last year Callista, who attends Cwmcarn High School, was admitted into London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for urgent surgery to treat the 85 degree curvature of her spine.

Once in London, her family had the added problem of where to stay, but thanks to the Sick Children’s Trust her parents, Chrisy and Leighton, were able to stay close by with younger brother, William, in Guilford Street House, a ‘Home from Home’ provided by the charity, located just around the corner from the hospital.

The teen, was so grateful to the Trust, she embarked on the sponsored 365 day birthday challenge along with her friends Laura and Rebecca Jolliffe and Katy Cousins, all 13, earlier this year with the aim of filling a whole calendar with birthday entries in aid of children’s charity, The Sick Children’s Trust, raising £2438.59.

Callista, who now has a 22 degree curvature of the spine, travelled to London with her family on June 30 to present the cheque to the trust.

Her mum who works as a paediatric nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital said she is delighted with her daughter’s efforts.

“The girls are really chuffed to have raised so much money,” she said.

“We were aiming to raise around £1,000 so to go over that is brilliant.

“Callista has really enjoyed the fundraising and she is doing really well.”