A nine-year-old boy who suffers from a crippling spinal condition has written a heartbreaking letter to Santa asking for his pain to be taken away.
Tyler Chambers asked for Father Christmas to bring him a scooter, chocolates and a football – but also for him to make his back better.
He suffers from scoliosis, a condition which causes his spine to curve, but also has a brain condition which affects his spinal chord and nerves.
In his letter to Santa, Tyler wrote in dark green felt-tip pen, To make my back better and don’t get any more pain.”
His mum Natasha Ward, 28, said: “I started crying as soon as I saw it. In the past year, he has been through so much.
“He always says, ‘Mum, you know when I grow up and I’m a footballer, I’m gonna buy you a Lamborghini- I’m gonna buy you a Lamborghini but it has to be green.’
“He really is so sweet and loving.
“I used to keep telling him all the time to stand up straight and to stand properly, and he was like, ‘Mum, I am standing straight!’
“I just thought, well, something’s not right.”
Natasha first noticed that Tyler’s back was not straight in April, so she took him to their GP, who referred him to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Doctors conducted MRI scans and found Tyler had a 61 degree curve in his spine – before diagnosing him with scoliosis.
The hospital also discovered he had a brain condition called chiari malformation, which means the lower part of his brain is pushing down into his spinal canal.
He had brain surgery last December in a bid to fix the problem and is wearing a Velcro and elastic Spine Core brace for 20 hours a day in a bid to straighten his back.
Natasha said: “We don’t know if the chiari malformation is completely better, because it could cause problems with the fluid again in the future and he might need more surgery.”
But if the brace is found not to be working when Tyler returns to hospital at the end of this month, he will be facing further surgery.
Although Tyler is in a lot of pain, Natasha says he is still determined to do the thing he loves most – football.
Natasha said: “Tyler absolutely loves football, he’d be lost without it, he lives for it and plays for his school team, Lincoln City Skills Academy and for the Lowlands Blaze.
“He loves to watch Lincoln City, so I sent a letter to Lincoln City and they are going to send him a Christmas card. They are really good with him.”
Tyler tries his best to play the sport he loves as much as possible, but struggles- if he needs spinal surgery, doctors will insert metal rods into his back, which would will prevent him playing footie.
Natasha said: “I don’t know how I would tell him, it would be heartbreaking.
“You should have seen his face when the doctor said that he might not play football if the brace doesn’t work.
“He can wear this brace for up to two years, and sometimes he’s fine with almost no pain, but it’s really bad over the winter months, he’s off school today because of it.
“Tyler will give everything. He’s good to his three younger siblings and he’s great with them and very helpful.
“He just says to me all the time, he hates going to the hospital, because he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, it’s hard.
“Like every child, he has his moments, but he’s very loving and football mad. He is going through so much.”
Natasha hopes to raise awareness of the brain condition, which she says she had never heard of before Tyler’s diagnosis.
She believes her son is lucky compared to other children she has met who are wheelchair-bound.
Natasha said: “I don’t know what will happen later in life. I can’t look into future. It’s just a waiting game.”
Tyler lives with his mum and three younger siblings, Oakley, 1, Evie, 6, and Lola, 5, Deans in Wragby, Lincolnshire.