Wirral schoolgirl Julia Carlile speaks to the ECHO about her recovery.
Teenage Britain’s Got Talent star Julia Carlile is set for her first dance performance since Simon Cowell funded her £175,000 spinal operation.
The major step on the West Kirby 15-year-old’s journey to recovery comes after she returned home from America late last month – having undergone the two rounds of major life-changing surgery paid for by the TV mogul.
If the schoolgirl had not accessed the vital treatment and instead been tended to in the UK for her scoliosis condition she says it would have left her “stiff as a board” and unable to fulfil her passion for dance.
Julia captured the nation’s hearts with her ongoing health battle and incredible dancing in the BGT finals with her troupe MerseyGirls.
After the operations, around six weeks ago, Julia said she was still in a lot of pain even when lying on the sofa.
However two weeks ago that all began to change with more movement returning and the soreness in her body easing.
Now, in her excitement at being able to dance again, she has even been practising moves in her lounge – despite her mum telling her to rest and be careful.
In an exclusive chat with the ECHO, Julia said: “I’ll be able to dance in another two months which is crazy because with the other surgery I just wouldn’t have been able to.
“In the future MerseyGirls can carry on dancing for ever and ever, which is what we always dreamt of, so the surgery is literally the best thing that has ever happened.”
Julia says the dance troupe have a lot of plans for the new year after her first performance back with the team but that’s all being kept under wraps at the moment.
The dancer was diagnosed with scoliosis at six years old, she says the condition “slowly got worse and worse” and doctors made a number of attempts to slow her spine from curving, including the use of back braces.
She said: “It wasn’t too bad at first but then I started to get a really big rib hump and my whole body was on a wonk.
“That meant I couldn’t do certain dance moves which really started to affect my life.
“Dancing was really hard, I couldn’t do certain moves and I got really mad. I just wanted it to be gone and be like everyone else.
“I was in a lot more pain so surgery was the only answer. However, the condition made me different and it has got me where I am today.”
In the two years before Julia was due to have diffusion surgery, an operation that would have left her unable to dance, she said she competed in every dance competition she was able to, despite being in “a lot of pain”.
Julia said: “My surgery was going to be just after BGT. I thought that was the last dance I was ever going to do.
“Obviously that all changed. We found this surgery in America a few years ago that could carry out an operation on my back which would still allow me to dance.
“We looked into it but could never afford it. That was completely gone to me.
“Then Simon Cowell read up on it and offered to pay for the surgery which was crazy, it is unreal still now and we cannot thank him enough.”
Before the operation, the angle of Julia’s back curve was more than 100 degrees but it was corrected to around 50.
Julia added: “I had two major surgeries and they halved the curve in my spine. I am really happy with the results.
“I feel like I’m starting to get better and I’m just looking forward to performing with MerseyGirls now – I am itching to dance!
“It’s been really crazy since I’ve been back from America.
“We went to the Reality TV Awards and I was back with MerseyGirls and that felt really good. It was like starting a normal life again being back with the girls.”