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Teenager Overcomes Spinal Condition, Prepares To Run Half Marathon With Titanium Spine

People are capable of truly amazing feats. Whether it’s an 8-year-old refugee turned chess champion or a 71-year-old grandmother making a difficult six-mile trek, there’s no force as strong as human determination. Our latest example of this is one teenager from England who, after having major reconstructive spinal surgery, is planning to run a half marathon.

Richard Joisce is a 19-year-old Lancaster University student hailing from Dereham, Norfolk.


In 2016, Richard had major reconstructive surgery on his spine to correct his severe scoliosis which he was first diagnosed with at 13 years old. Titanium bolts and rods were used to straighten his spinal cord.

Within six months of his surgery, Richard was making miraculous strides in recovery and was even able to start running.

Am Rai, the consultant orthopedic and spinal surgeon who conducted Richard’s surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), was impressed by his recovery.

Richard’s recovery has been excellent and shows what we can achieve and how young people’s quality of life can be improved,” Rai said. “This is a credit to the team and we want to continue to improve our scoliosis service to treat patients across East Anglia.”

In a recent checkup, Rai took an X-Ray of Richard’s spine. This is a comparison from before and after surgery.


As a former rugby player, Richard sought an outlet for exercise that wouldn’t endanger his spine.

“I started running because I wasn’t able to play rugby after surgery. Within eight months I was running my first half marathon,” Richard said.

This weekend, Richard plans to complete the Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half Marathon which stretches 13 miles across the beautiful Norfolk countryside.

He hopes to finish the race in one hour and 35 minutes.

Go, Richard!

h/t Eastern Daily Press

Written by Emily Burns

Writer and editorial specialist based out of Austin, TX.