The first pictures following Britian’s Got Talent dancer Julia Carlile’s life-changing operation have been revealed.
Simon Cowell paid for the 15-year-old – who suffers from scoliosis – to have surgery on her back, after she danced in the finals of the ITV show with MerseyGirls.
Her dance group shared a snap of her recovering in hospital following the operation in the USA.
Along with the snap of her looking rather tired and bandaged up, they added: “Julia has done it!
“First op done, we are so proud of her and missing her so much want to give her a MASSIVE HUG, our girl is a fighter.”
In her first BGT audition, Julia told judges the show was her last chance at being a dancer before needing an operation that would leave her unable to perform again.
Julia has done it! First op done, we are so proud of her and missing her so much want to give her a MASSIVE HUG, our girl is a fighter❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/9mjOXrlrSd
— Mersey Girls (@MerseyGirls) 25 July 2017
The £175,000 operation is called vertebral body tethering, where screws are fixed along a cord inside the back.
It takes six weeks to recover from and is reversible if it doesn’t work.
A procedure available on the NHS involves fusing the spine with metal rods but this would could mean Julia would never dance again.
Earlier this month, Julia told the Liverpool Echo how talent show judge Simon approached the group after their final Britain’s Got Talent performance and told them he would pay for her operation.
She said: “Simon came and spoke to us back stage. Just walking off stage and he said he was paying for it and I couldn’t believe it.
“Annie came up to me and said Simon wants to speak to us.
“He said we did a really good performance.
“He didn’t have to do it and he has changed my life. There are no word to thank him for how grateful we are. It’s just unbelievable.
“It does not feel real.”
Mum Kate, 39, said it was the first time Julia had had any kind of hope about being able to dance in the future.
She said: “We are in a very privileged position because of Simon.
“We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for the girls and Simon and everyone who has supported them. The wave of support has been unbelievable.”
Mersey Girls originally hoped to use some of the £250,000 prize fund to get Julia to America.
The dance group is made up of Julia’s sister Alice, 17; Annie Winstanley, 17; Becky Jordan, 16, and Poppy Gerrard, 15.