52 staples and 38 screws: Young Kelowna cheerleader recovering from emergency spine surgery - InfoNews

Current Conditions

1.6°C

52 staples and 38 screws: Young Kelowna cheerleader recovering from emergency spine surgery

Before and after: Callie Tansem’s parents first noticed the curve in her spine earlier this year. The straight-A student was so active with cheerleading and athletics that coaches and family were shocked to find out that she had developed severe scoliosis.
Image Credit: Submitted
November 16, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KELOWNA – A 13-year-old Kelowna cheerleader won’t have to give up her dream, thanks to an incredible surgery.

Callie Tansem’s parents first noticed the curve in her spine earlier this year. The straight-A student was so active with cheerleading and athletics that coaches and family were shocked to find out that she had developed severe scoliosis.

Her father Jason Tansem says she never complained and assumed her occasional back pain was from overtraining. 

Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature of the spine that, if severe enough, can affect organ function. For mild cases a back brace is worn, for Callie however, that was not an option.

“This was so aggressive the only option was surgery,” Tansem says. “She had two curves. A heavy curve at the top and a smaller one at the bottom.”

Kelowna cheerleader Callie Tansem, 13.
Kelowna cheerleader Callie Tansem, 13.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Within weeks, on May 8, she was taken to B.C. Children’s Hospital and after a nine-hour surgery, 52 staples and 38 screws, returned to her worried parents.

“We didn’t know if she’d be able to walk,” he says. “There are a lot of things that can go sideways."

With a scar running the length of her spine, Callie was walking the next day.

“It was incredible,” Tansem says. “The staff at Childrens Hospital was phenomenal and Callie’s a trooper for sure.”

Although she has been medically cleared to increase activity, and even go to the gym to build up her back muscles, full recovery will take at least a year.

What matters to Callie, however, is that she will cheer again.

“She misses cheering the most,” he says. “She was really worried she wouldn’t be able to do it again. That would break her heart.”

Callie’s next check up is in May 2019 and her dad says she plans to return to cheerleading as soon as possible.

“She’s three inches taller after the surgery and she’s going to have as much mobility as she did before.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile