By Ashley Yarchin
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) - A St. Charles teen suffering from cerebral palsy underwent a life-surgery, one that's brought kids from around the world to St. Louis Children's Hospital.
It all happened because of a story that aired on NewsChannel 5 over the summer, which featured another teen from South Florida who received the same surgery: selective dorsal rhizotomy. Lauren Slattery's parents saw it, and soon learned their 13-year-old was the perfect candidate.
"Well, today's the day," said Angela Slattery, Lauren's mother, early Friday morning.
"We're ready and she's ready," Lauren's father, T.J., went on to say.
"We are in Children's Hospital and in, like, an hour-and-a-half, I'm gonna have a surgery, yeah," added Lauren, with a less-than-excited tone.
Okay, she is 13 and it was 6 a.m., but Lauren Slattery has actually been looking forward to this because the next time she uses her legs, life will be different.
"It'll be harder to walk because I have to re-learn how to walk, which will be difficult but, you know, whatever you have to do," she said.
What had her so set on Friday's surgery is this: a snip of some sensory nerves in her lower back will relieve the tension or stiffness that plagues all cerebral palsy patients.
"Just to give her the mobility and the freedom to do whatever she sets her mind to," T.J. said.
"You know, we're just a little bit nervous," said Angela with tears running down her face. "It's a big deal, it's a big surgery but it's a new beginning."
Dr. T.S. Park is the hospital's chief of pediatric neurosurgery, and he did for Lauren what he has done for close to 2,400 children with cerebral palsy worldwide. It's a three-hour surgery that requires months of follow-up physical therapy. For Lauren and her family, that will certainly be time well spent.
"Obviously, I hope I can be like anyone else, you know," Lauren said.
T.J. reported Friday afternoon that surgery went great. In a few months, Lauren will undergo one more to extend her muscles. It's a lot, but with a 100-percent success rate, Lauren's family said they have faith in Dr. Park's process.