A FAMILY is hoping their daughter's next operation will bring an end to one of her two life-limiting conditions.
Sophie Wherry, 12, was diagnosed at birth with scoliosis, a condition that causes her spine to excessively curve sideways. If untreated it can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
The youngster also suffers from a genetic disorder called myotonic muscular dystrophy, which progressively deteriorates her muscles and which she inherited from her mum, Vicki.
This week, Sophie and her dad, John Wherry, of Barripper, spoke about their many trips to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Sophie has received 12 major spine operations in the past five years, and providing her with round-the-clock care.
Sophie was born two months prematurely at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, and had a very difficult start in life.
She was aged just 7, when she made her first trip to the London hospital for her first operation.
She has since travelled to London some 50 times for check-ups, emergency operations and to have new rods fitted to support her back.
"She would have died if she did not have that first operation," said Mr Wherry, aged 38, who is her main carer.
"Her spine would have collapsed and she would have not been able to walk because of her twisted hips. She really was in bad physical pain."
The trips to London and paying for Sophie's specialist equipment to make her as comfortable as possible have been a major financial burden.
And they have always had to be prepared to take Sophie to hospital at the drop of a hat – she has accidentally broken the rods in her back six times.
Mr Wherry said: "It is rare to break them but she has set a new record.
"Once, while Vicki's mum was looking after Sophie, we went to do a little bit of shopping. While in the supermarket the phone rang and Vicki's mum said Sophie's rods had snapped while she was walking in the garden.
"We had to leave the trolley and rush home to take her to hospital."
Sophie and her parents are now preparing for her last major operation in six months' time.
Her other condition is being managed with painkillers and could limit her life expectancy.
In the meanwhile fundraising group Brave Little People is continuing to support the family and is planning a sponsored walk soon. Anyone able to help the family manage their trips to London and funding Sophie's specialist equipment is asked to get in touch with the group through Facebook.