A BUDDING ballerina is hoping for the greatest New Year present of all – a pioneering spinal operation which will save her dancing queen dream.

Dance-mad Lily-May Potter, from Maldon, was devastated when she was suddenly diagnosed with severe scoliosis the day after her 13th birthday.

It left her in so much pain, she finds daily activities challenging and suffers from dizziness, nausea, spasms and tingling in her hands and feet.

The only NHS treatment is to fuse Lily-May’s spine, which would end the Maldon teenager’s dream of being a dancer.

Her family are now trying to raise £47,000 for groundbreaking spinal surgery in Germany.

The family, of Cherry Garden Road, have set up a fund to pay for the op, which is not available on the NHS.

Mum Kathryn Barnett said: “Our beautiful daughter, Lily-May, celebrated her 13th birthday in October.

“The following day our happy little world was rocked when she was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

“Its onset was so sudden and unexpected, but the only treatment option on the NHS is full fusion in both the thoracic and lumbar spine using rods and bones grafts.

“She desperately needs treatment to prevent damage to her internal organs as the curve is so severe that if left untreated it would continue to progress, putting pressure on her heart and lungs.

“We were delighted to discover a promising, pioneering spinal surgery to correct her curve without the need for the spinal fusion.

“Instead, tethers change the shape of the curve as she grows, like an internal brace.”

The new operation would allow Lily to continue her love for dancing.

Kathryn added: “All who know our daughter know her biggest passion has always been dance.

“It all started with a toddler in a pink tutu and spiralled into a graceful ballerina – she is continually twirling around, be it in front of the TV, around supermarket aisles or at the dance studios.

“By choosing a surgery that doesn’t fuse the vertebrae of the spine, she will retain full movement and flexibility and be able to continue to do all the things that bring her joy.”

The technique, which has been approved in America, is currently authorised at St George’s Hospital in the UK, but is only available for privately paying patients.

The family are travelling to Germany on February 17 to a top spinal paediatric surgeon who will carry out the surgery.

Kathryn added: “We want to say a massive thank you to all who have generously donated and kindly shared our campaign. We are blown away by the support we’ve received.

“We believe this is the best hope for our dancing queen, but we can’t get her there without people’s support.

“Unfortunately, time is against us and we must act now while she is still skeletally immature.”

So far, the family have raised almost £3,000 from supporters, including Made in Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo.

To find out more, visit justgiving.com/campaign/SpinalSurgeryforLily-May.