Kirkintilloch woman who helped pave the way for medical advances in spina bifida is remembered

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Generous fundraisers have collected thousands of pounds for a specialist charity which supports those affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus, in memory of a Kirkintilloch woman.

Anne Baxter was born in 1970 with spina bifida, a fault in the spinal column where vertebrae do not form completely.

Diagnosed at a time when little was known about the condition, she became one of the first patients in Scotland to trial the revolutionary CT Scanner and underwent various experimental procedures and operations over the years.

During her life, she also formed a close bond with Dr Dan Young, a pioneering physician, once honorary president of Scottish Spina Bifida Association, now called Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland).

Her niece Lesleyanne Lindsay believes her aunt’s willingness to volunteer for different treatments has contributed to the next generation of patients enjoying the best of care.

In Anne’s memory, her friends organised a recent fundraiser at Kirkintilloch Miners Welfare and Social Club, where she was a member, with a cabaret, raffle, mini-auction, bingo and dancing display that raised £1,200 for SBH Scotland.

With a further £600 donated at Anne’s funeral, and an additional £200 expected from an office dress-down day held by Friends Legal in Glasgow, the charity is set to collect around £2,000. The funds will be used specifically to provide support to those affected by lifelong conditions of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus.

Lesleyanne (34) believes it is what Anne would have wanted.

She said: “My aunt had spina bifida and grew up at a time when a lot of the operations and medical practises were still experimental.

“It’s thanks to people like her and others of her generation that people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus now enjoy the best medical attention.

“My aunt was the first patient to use the new CT Scanner at the old Yorkhill Hospital, and grew very fond of her doctor. Dr Young looked after her right through childhood and last operated on her in 1983 when he replaced a shunt. She had never had bother with it again.

“He was a wonderful doctor and my aunt just loved him. She even kept photos and a newspaper article of them both. She was a member of SBH Scotland when it was Scottish Spina Bifida Association, and I’m sure she would have been pleased to know that we managed to raise this money for such a worthwhile cause in her honour.”

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “Medical advances are only possible thanks to people like Anne who truly paved the way with their bravery.

“It is heart-warming that her niece Lesleyanne and friends have raised this money in Anne’s memory to allow us to continue to provide the best support to our members.”

For more information on services offered by SBH Scotland please visit www.sbhscotland.org.uk/