Story One
Age 4

Cosmos. Age 4.

This young boy was seen in our visit to Zambia in October 2010. He had been diagnosed with spinal TB and treated with medication for 6 months. However this had not worked and the TB infection had destroyed the bone in the thoracic region of the spine.

The first video shows Cosmos walking in a hunched posture using his hands to support his spine. He is unable to stand upright and walks like an old man. If left untreated, the pressure on the delicate spinal cord can build up and cause paralysis.

The 2nd video is of Cosmos asleep and demonstrates how flexible and unstable his spine is.

Cosmos underwent a surgical procedure to take out the infected material and replace it with bone.

Normally the patient would have a second operation to put the screws into the back of the spine to hold the implanted bone in place. Unfortunately that particular kit was not available to the surgical team on this visit.

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Video one Video two
Story Two
Age 11

JJ. Age 11.

JJ had a progressive deformity of his spine, and when he was 8 he was treated with an operation to fuse the spine from behind, with the aim of preventing further progression of the deformity.

In developed countries this would be followed up every 3-6 months to ensure there are no complications. This is very important as the spine continues to grow and this growth may cause more deformity. Following up such cases in the developing world is very difficult due to costs, education, lack of information and infrastructure.

Our team saw JJ in October 2012. His deformity had progressed.He was seen by Mr Chan & Mr Davis who advised a further operation to realign the spine after breaking it in a controlled manner and then fusing it with screws and rods. This operation is referred to as a osteotomy and is one of the most challenging operations to perform.

JJ is making good progress as his spine takes on the shape of an inserted metal rod, very much like a young tree around a rigid stake.

Video one
Story Two
Age 13

RL. Age 13.

RL is a 13 year old son of a pastor and is the only living child in the family. He was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis which was treated with medication.

The video shows the effect of the TB on a young childs posture and gait. He is walking hunched forward and has difficultly controlling his legs. He required speacilist childrens spinal instrumentation to correct his deformity which was not available. Fundraising through Spine Aid will help secure such specialist kit.

A Pledge

What your donations help to buy

All money donated to Spine Aid directly funds patient treatment, who are predominantly children. We provide nutrition, transport and medical equipment to help these children. All monies raised goes directly towards their care.

So far Spine Aid has raised money towards:

  • Purchase of an operating table
  • Spinal equipment and anaesthetic gases
  • Egg fund - providing two eggs per child per day while in hospital to give adequate nutrition and aid a speedy recovery

Please donate now

Thanks to many generous contributions, Spine Aid has raised over £35 000 to date. Please continue to support Spine Aid so that we can do our best to help the children of developing countries.

Donations by Just Giving

You can make donations online through the Just Giving website. Click on the logo to donate. Our charity fund is managed by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust Charitable Fund.

Donations by Post

To contribute please send cheques made payable to Spine Aid to:

Spine Aid
C/O Mr A S Rai
Consultant Spinal Surgeon
The Norfolk and Norwich University Teaching Hospital,
Colney Lane,
Norwich, NR4 7UY, UK

How we began

Mr Rai, Spinal Surgeon and Spine Aid organiser tells the story

"Mr. Norrish is a surgeon who trained with us at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. After qualifying, he went to Zambia to work with the CURE foundation ( and encountered children and adults with phenomenal disabilities.

When he sent me details of 20 children with tremendous spine problems, I decided to do whatever I could to help.

I first travelled to Zambia in January 2008 and was overwhelmed by the number of cases that I saw. On that trip, I operated on four children who had significant disabilities.

The operations were successful and these children walked out of hospital, their outlook significantly improved now they had the chance to lead an independent life.

I have returned to Zambia several times since then, travelling with a number of other healthcare professionals.

We were able to see many patients in clinic to plan treatment for them, and we operated on 10 children who had severe spinal deformities.

But there many more children needing treatment - families come from all over Zambia to CURE international's hospital in Lusaka, camping for days waiting and hoping for a surgical cure for their child's disability. Many spend a month's salary to travel to the hospital. It is very disheartening to turn many of these people away due to lack of resources.

To continue this rewarding work and help treat many more Zambian children, I set up Spine Aid to support these visits."

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How we began

Zambia Oct 2013
Zambia Oct 2012

Zambia October 2013

Plans are underway for Spine Aid to return to Zambia in October 2013. Click here to make a pledge.

Zambia October 2012

Mr Rai led a team of Healthcare experts to visit Zambia in Autumn 2012. The team consisted of Spinal/Orthopaedic Surgeons from Addenbrooke's University Hospital Cambridge, Ipswich Hospital, Bristol Hospital and The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The team were able to see 158 patients and operated on 35 of them. They were able to arrange teaching clinics, lectures and operating lists at the university and Beit Cure Hospital, Lusaka, treating and teaching on a variety of conditions from spinal fractures to tuberculosis to neglected trauma.

The team arranged two outreach visits to rural areas in Katete and Mukinge Hills. The latter involved using the services of Flyspec, which is a charitable organisation started by Professor John Jellis 20 years ago.

Mr Rai would like to thank all individuals and companies that have kindly sponsored the Spine Aid project, which has allowed this visit to occur. In particular Mr Rai would like to thank NuVasive, who have made a substantial donation towards Spine Aid through their charitable department.

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Spine Aid
C/O Mr A S Rai
Consultant Spinal Surgeon
The Norfolk and Norwich University Teaching Hospital,
Colney Lane,
Norwich, NR4 7UY, UK

Make a pledge