Julia Carlile had always dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. But since she was born with scoliosis, her spine continued to curve as she got older.
Julia’s condition had gotten to the point where her spine was crushing her lungs and she had extreme back pain. But following her passion, she worked hard to keep dancing and fought through the pain.
Dancing with her friends since the age of 5, Julia and her friends formed the Mersey Girls dance team. And suddenly, they’d made it onto Brittan’s Got Talent.
Although Julia was in desperate need of surgery to correct her spine, she didn’t have the money to afford the expensive procedure. But, if she and her friends were able to take home the prize on the show, she would be able to get the surgery.
The show shared Julia’s story before they danced. Viewers heard how the only surgery covered by her insurance would leave her unable to dance afterwards. In order to follow her dreams, she would need a pioneering surgery available in America that would allow her back to remain flexible.
After showing off their impressive dance moves in their audition, the girls earned the coveted “golden buzzer” from judge Alesha Dixon to move on to in the competition.
Dixon wasn’t the only judge that was moved by the performance. After the show, Simon Cowell came backstage to congratulate the group.
Overall, they’d finished in 4th place. But Simon had an even more exciting surprise for Julia — he wanted to pay for her nearly $240,000 back surgery.
“Simon came and spoke to us backstage,” Julia said. “Just walking off stage and he said he was paying for it and I couldn’t believe it.”
Simon made good on his offer, flying Julia to the US for her surgery. She has since been in recovery and looks forward to getting back out on the dance floor more often.
‘I always wanted the surgery but could never afford it. I owe Simon so much because if he hadn’t paid for me, my curve would have continued to increase, leaving me unable to dance and in a lot of pain. Having an operation was my only choice.”
For now, Julia is thankful to finally be able to keep dancing with her friends and follow her dreams, pain-free.
“The surgeons said they didn’t understand how I’d been dancing with that curve,” she said. “But thanks to the operation, my flexibility should be similar to people without scoliosis.”
To congratulate her on a successful procedure, Simon also put Julia and her family up in a London hotel to watch The X-Factor.
“When I told him he’d changed my life, he said, ‘No, you’ve changed my life!'” she said. “He gave me a big hug, and when I told him I could dance again, he said, ‘I’m so proud of you.'”
As she looks forward to the years to come, the generous gift from Simon has made her feel absolutely unstoppable.
“Before, I’d always wear a big baggy jumper to cover my back. Now I love how my back looks – there will be no stopping me in 2018.”
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