Bosco Creed (2nd from left) with his brother Micheal, wife Jacqui and daughter Aisling as they prepare for the big cycle on April 16/17. (Eddie O'Hare courtesy Evening Echo)

On Saturday week, April 16th, Fermoy’s Bosco Creed and his brother Michael will begin a two-day cycle from Cork to Dublin to raise funds for the Straight Ahead charity, who provide free surgery and orthopaedic procedures to young people.

The service exists to treat people who face lengthy delays on waiting lists and whose chances of recovery are under time constraints.

Aisling's x-ray post insertion of growing rods.
Aisling’s x-ray post insertion of growing rods.

To date, Straight Ahead, founded by orthopaedic surgeon Pat Kiely in 2009, have carried out 68 operations – through leasing out operating theatres on weekends and bank holidays and by the volunteerism of hospital staff. As a free service, Straightahead relies completely on fundraising efforts to continue their service.

Bosco’s daughter Aisling is one of the many young people to avail of Straight Ahead, having a rod-lengthening surgery with the charity last August after first undergoing surgery for growth rods in April 2010. The 13-year-old suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic condition characterised by defects of the major structural protein, collagen, in the body.

As a result Aisling has developed scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. She was first diagnosed with EDS when she was six months old and has spent considerable time in Crumlin Hospital in Dublin since then. Throughout her life to date, Aisling has undergone numerous surgeries and procedures as a result of her rare condition.

Since her final rod-lengthening surgery last year, Aisling is currently on a 250-patient waiting list for spinal fusion surgery. Her mother, Jacqui Creed, told The Avondhu that Straight Ahead acts as ‘a safety net’ for young people like Aisling who face long waiting lists despite requiring surgery under a time constraint.

“It’s great that Straight Ahead is there as a service for the public.”

“It will depend on the regular waiting list. They usually wait one year to give the spine a chance to settle, but then there is only a certain length of time in which you can do the surgery, otherwise you face there being a curvature forming,” Jacqui said.

“So we will have to wait and see but it’s great that Straight Ahead is there as a service for the public.”

Straight Ahead not only provide surgeries to people with spinal issues, but also to those who require life-changing surgeries as a result of severe orthopaedic deformities. The first operation under the Straight Ahead charity was successfully carried out a 12-year-old girl with a double curve in her spine, which had deformed to more than a 90-degree bend in two areas.

In their efforts to raise funds for the charity, over 200 cyclists – including Bosco and Michael Creed – will travel from Little Island in Cork, passing through Watergrasshill, Fermoy and Mitchelstown, on their way to Clondakin in Dublin over two days.

To donate and help raise funds for the continuation of Straight Ahead’s vital public service – visit the iDonate page entitled Cork2Dublin2016.