John Francis Delina (Francis) is a twelve-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with severe scoliosis (severe thoracolumbar dextrorotoscolios with kyphosis). The severe 110 degree S curvature of Francis’ spine will eventually result in pressure on the lungs. As the curvature progresses, doctors have determined that it is likely that his lungs will be eventually be punctured as the pressure increases. Paralysis is also a foreseeable risk in the future should the condition go untreated.
Due to the progressive nature of his condition, Francis has already had to change schools because the other school’s stairwells proved too difficult for him to navigate. In his new school, he has already been told that he can not participate in sports. He has also endured endless teasing as a result of his condition.
A complex surgery is the only chance for Francis to be able to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, Francis’ family is unable to afford the care he needs. He lives in the the Philippines where his ailing grandmother, age 80, is the primary caregiver for not only Francis but also for his brother and his six cousins. His mother, along with his aunts, work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Francis’ father passed away in 2008. His brother and cousins work in the fields to help make ends meet (Francis’ scoliosis prevents him from assisting them).
While working in Hong Kong, Francis' mother learned of FOCOS through her employer who had met Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, the Founder and President of FOCOS, at a private dinner. With the help of FOCOS board member, Mary Anne Choo, Francis’s situation was discussed with Dr. Boachie and the FOCOS team who were all confident that he could be treated at the FOCOS Hospital in Ghana. A fundraising goal of $50,000 USD was needed to make this treatment happen for Francis. Mary Anne Choo diligently worked to make Francis’s situation known and through the generosity of several donors all the funds were raised for Francis care.
Fundraising alone was not enough though in Mary Anne’s eyes as she knew Francis has dreams of playing basketball one day like other boys his age. Through some contacts, Mary Anne was able to get LA Lakers, Jordan Clarkson and NBA All-Star, Dikembe Mutumbo to send him inspirational videos for his upcoming treatment. Francis also get to spend the day at the NBA Office in Hong Kong where he received a bunch of goodies through the NBA Cares program and a LA Lakers team jersey signed by all the players.
January 6, 2016 Francis arrived in Ghana with his mother. His treatment will require two months of pre-operative care including traction, a device that helps to straighten the spine to make surgery more effective and safe. Francis will then have complex spine surgery and will remain at FOCOS for at least one month for follow-up care and physiotherapy. Francis is now officially a part of the FOCOS “Halo Squad”. Stay tuned for more updates regarding Francis condition.