Emmett teen diagnosed with scoliosis hopes for innovative surgery

Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 12:36:50-04


Mercy Roberts has always loved hiking, swimming, and being active, but these days she hasn't been able to be the 13-year-old she wants to be. At just 10 years old Mercy began complaining of back pain. That's when her sister noticed something strange.

"She called me in and said 'mom, take a look at her back.' and I leaned over and was rubbing her back and I said 'oh my goodness she has scoliosis'," explained Mercy's mother, Kitti Roberts. 

Back then her condition wasn't as aggressive. 

"My first thought was a couple of trips to the chiropractor will fix that right up. Little did we know that it wasn't quite that simple," said Kitti.

After doing a lot of research and wanting to stay ahead of the condition, Mercy's family took her to specialists right away who devised plans for treatment.

They thought they could at least stall the progression, but it didn't work, so they moved on to non-traditional methods.

"Yoga and all kinds of different weird exercises I found online," explained Kitti.

But still, nothing worked.

"Just to watch her condition worsen and worsen is very heartbreaking for myself, all of my siblings, and my parents," said Mercy's sister Autumn White.

"It's crushing. We as dads always want to take care of our kids and to be in a position where I can't fix something is very very difficult," said Mercy's dad, Robbie Roberts.

In only three years the condition has progressed to a state so severe, the pain is unbearable.

"Mercy actually has a double curve. She has almost an 'S' going on and her curves are both over 100 degrees which is very very significant," said Robbie.

Then, hope. A doctor in New York has agreed to perform an innovative surgery on Mercy, but the catch, because it's so new it isn't covered by insurance.

The family will have to pay the six-figure bill all out of pocket. 

"I've seen my siblings slash their budgets just to be able to put as much money towards this as possible. We are all putting stuff up on craigslist. We are thinking of any way that we  
can raise money," said White.

They've already raised more than 18,000 dollars, but for Mercy to get the surgery they still have a long way to go. 

"I just feel so humbled and awed and inspired at how people can give us so much to help," said Mercy.

"Myself and my entire family, we are a very pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get the job done and work as hard as you can. This is one of the few instances where I lack the capability to make this happen on my own," explained White.

Another family from Indiana whose daughter recently had the same surgery donated a Harley Davidson motorcycle to them. In order to raise funds, they are hoping to raffle the bike off by distributing 1000 tickets for a 100 dollar donation a piece, however, there is no purchase necessary in compliance with Idaho gaming laws.

"I just keep on thinking about the people who have it worse than me and realizing how brave they have been and how brave that all of my siblings have been in trying to help me. It just inspires me," said Mercy.

But Mercy isn't only hoping to have the surgery to change her life, she hopes that the surgery will also change people's lives around the world. 

"If I have this surgery then maybe it will become more common practice to use this surgery to make people better and it might change the world a little bit," said Mercy.

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