Having Reece's Back

By Blake Leitch

Since childhood, Reece has helped Blake and Ryan in every way imaginable. He’s clothed them, fed them, bathed them, and lifted wheelchairs out of holes. He’s helped them to live as full a life as possible, and it’s hurt him in return. Now it's their turn to give back.

I can’t believe it’s been so much time since my niece was born. I still remember waking up to a phone call from my younger brother telling me I was going to be an uncle, telling me he was going to become a father. And I remember going to the hospital to meet my niece for the first time, to see her swaddled and sleeping. But what I remember most came a few days later when I saw her at home for the first time: I remember her eyes; I remember how I thought that they shone like the stars in the night sky; I remember how their newness looked like a galaxy of possibility.

The problem with possibility is that good is as likely as bad. It’s been half a decade since those days and so many things have changed since then. That niece is now one of two, we’re living in the midst of a global pandemic, and my younger brother, my nieces’ father, is in desperate need.

The story of my family has been told many times, but the focus was always on myself and my older brother. My elder brother and I living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy meant that our family had to provide every physical necessity for the two of us. They have never begrudged us for it, but it has certainly taken its toll on their bodies.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what Reece has done for us. Since childhood, he and my two wonderful younger sisters have helped my older brother and I damn near every way imaginable. He’s clothed us, he’s fed us, he’s bathed us, he’s driven us (both physically and up the wall), he’s lifted wheelchairs out of holes, and he’s carried drunk idiots to bed. He’s helped us to live as full a life as possible, and it’s hurt him in return.


Again, he has never begrudged my older brother or I for the physical labour he had to do due to our circumstances. And now, he is desperately in need of spinal surgery. Now, it’s my turn to do the little I can to pay back Reece for everything he has done for us; it’s my job to ask you, if you can, please help. There is no singular heroic event that led to Reece’s spinal disrepair, but a lifetime of service.

The problem with possibility is that good is as likely as bad. The bad has happened. But I now ask, if you can, to please help contribute to my brother’s surgical fund. With the surgery he needs, there is a possibility that my brother can return home to play with his daughters again. My niece’s eyes saw the potential of life before her, and I need that to include quality time with her father once more.


Reece urgently needs to get to Germany for disc-replacement surgery.

Two of the discs in his spine have prolapsed for a fourth time and he's had three discectomy operations since 2013 (2013, 2015, & 2017).

Disc Replacement Surgery is the evolution of traditional spine fusion. Unlike traditional fusion, it allows the spine to maintain movement of the vertebrae at the treated levels. This significantly reduces the overloading of levels above and below the treated level, which causes the ongoing issues that come along with spine fusion.

Germany has pioneered this method of disc-replacement and the rest of the world are starting to come on-board and recognise the research and benefits and are beginning to adopt the practice.

Germany has a purpose-built spine clinic and rehabilitation centre which are second-to-none, and their surgeons have performed over 4500 disc replacements each.