Old Massett teen gives house thumbs up

  • Jan. 26, 2004 12:00 p.m.

Submitted by Vancouver’s Easter Seal House- Teresa Smith is 14 years old, and she lives in Old Massett with her parents and her two brothers (she also has a sister who lives away from home).
In her short life, Teresa has faced many medical challenges, as she was born with Scoliosis (or curvature of the spine). Scoliosis affects two to three percent of the population, and although it occurs equally among both sexes, girls are eight times more likely to require surgical intervention for their curvature.
Thirty-three surgeries have been performed on Teresa to help with her condition. Surgeons from BC’s Children’s Hospital and Edmonton’s University Hospital have both tried to help her live a pain-free life, with limited success. She has had two rods placed against her spine to help keep it straight, and both rods have broken. As a result of the second breakage, she has a loose screw in her back, and it is too dangerous to try and remove it.
Teresa is now visiting Vancouver for the sixth time to see her doctors, and at the invitation of Rick Harker from the BC Lions Society, she is staying at Easter Seal House. Teresa agreed to have her picture taken at the house, and give Rick and other staff some of her opinions about the house. She says it’s better than the hotel where she usually stays! Everyone is friendly, and she and her dad, Ed Smith, played on the house’s playstation until 1 am. Easter Seal House also has an electronic hoist, making it easier for Teresa to transfer to the bed. Ideally, she’d like a swimming pool, but now she knows that the G.F. Strong Pool is only blocks away. Her other request is for a pool table so she can sharpen her skills for when she returns home.
Teresa and her father are only two of the guests from the islands who will stay at Easter Seal House in Vancouver this year. “Easter Seal services are supported by people from around BC, and the Easter Seal Society very much appreciates their support, particularly from the residents of Masset and Old Masset through their annual Timmy’s Christmas telethon” states Stephen Miller, President of the Lions Society and Easter Seal operations. “These dollars will help ensure that Easter Seal House is always there for families when they’re visiting medical facilities in Vancouver, including Teresa and her dad.”