'My life is on hold' – Ipswich man's plea for life-changing surgery

Elliot Bailey is fundraising for life-changing surgery for his chest condition, pectus excavatum (or sunken chest)

Elliot Bailey is fundraising for life-changing surgery for his chest condition, pectus excavatum (or sunken chest) - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

An Ipswich man whose bones are crushing his heart has launched a fundraising plea to help him secure life-changing surgery.

Some family and friends were never aware Elliot Bailey was living with a condition stopping him from living life to the full.

Although the 24-year-old had never let his condition hold him back from his love of football and exercise, his days on the pitch came to an end as a 16-year-old when he could no longer keep up with his peers.

He lives with a condition called pectus excavatum – or sunken chest – which causes the sternum to grow inwards towards his spine.

The condition puts his heart and lungs under pressure, meaning he regularly faces light-headedness and dizziness – while a trip to the gym last year saw him almost collapse.

A scan showing how the condition is compressing his heart

A scan showing how the condition is compressing his heart (the grey mass in the centre) - Credit: Elliot Bailey


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A series of scans found his condition to be more serious than first thought, with tests revealing he can only utilise just over half of the oxygen his body needs.

Mr Bailey said: "I loved football, but no matter how hard I trained, I just couldn't run as far and was always the first to be substituted.

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"It was only last year in the gym when I began feeling very, very faint that I knew I had to get this looked into.

"Now when I'm out and about I can feel very light headed and faint, it stops me enjoying my life. Giving up football and now the gym is a big hit for your mental health.

"I come from a really sporty family, but my body just doesn't allow me to join in.

"I've said my life is on hold and I really mean that."

Mr Bailey has had to give up two of his biggest passions due to the effects of his condition

Mr Bailey has had to give up two of his biggest passions due to the effects of his condition - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The surgery he requires, known as the Nuss Procedure, sees metal bars inserted behind the sternum to push it back into a normal place. The bars remain in place for between three-and-a-half to four years.

The NHS stopped offering the painful surgery in 2019, meaning those wanting the procedure have to go private at a cost of more than £19,000.

Mr Bailey said the years of recovery will be worth the gain, as he looks to return to his passions.

He said: "It will improve my health drastically – both physically and mentally. But not only will it help me cardio-wise, it will help me cosmetically and help boost my confidence too. 

"I've spoken to people who have had it done and they all say they wish they had it done at a younger age.

"I'm lucky to have family and friends and a good job to help support me financially, but I feel for the people out there who aren't so lucky.

"There will be people out there who won't be able to afford the surgery but really need it."

Mr Bailey has so far raised more than £2,700 of his £5,000 goal – those willing to donate can do so here.

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