Choral support for Larne teen’s life-changing surgery

A community choir will release a new musical video this evening (Friday) as part of a campaign to help a Larne girl receive life-changing spinal surgery.

The Cairde Community Choir is supporting their member Lorraine Shields - whose daughter Naomi Broomfield has scoliosis - with a choral arrangement of the Nina Simone song ‘I wish I knew how it would feel to be free’.

Naomi is a clever, witty 13-year-old who also manages her ADHD and autism well. Lorraine points out that, according to the Scoliosis & Spine Association, children on the autism spectrum are likely to have increased rates of scoliosis.

Lorraine noticed that Naomi’s back seemed out of alignment during the 2019 summer vacation and on return took her to the doctor. In 2020 Naomi was diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes a sideways curve of the spine.

Lorraine and Naomi.

Research indicates that if left untreated, scoliosis affects school attendance as well as worsening mobility, heart and lung conditions. On the other hand, Lorraine notes, teens and adults who have surgery tend to have improved physical and emotional well-being. This, she explains, is a major surgery and only recommended when all other options have been tried and failed to prevent the curve from reaching 45 or 50 degrees.

Naomi says: “I would really like to get the operation to help with the pain and so I can run and skip around. The back pain makes it hard to do some of my interests like going out with my friends and taking photos to get inspiration for stories.”

Lorraine initiated the Got Your Back Naomi crowdfunding project on Justgiving with the help of Simone Coetser, 46-year-old Miss/Mrs AfricaUK pageant finalist. They have received tremendous support since launching the campaign in January 2021, raising over £17,500 towards the £45,000 goal which will allow Naomi to receive surgery in Turkey in October 2021.

The choir is asking people to enjoy their rendition of Naomi’s wish and Nina’s Simone song and to donate to the crowdfunding project to help the Larne High School pupil.

Naomi with Siobhan.

Cairde Community Choir was supported by Clanmil Housing Association which provides quality housing and engages in a variety of capacity building community programmes. This choir was believed to be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, where housing and music came together to create unique experiences to benefit the staff and tenants of the housing association as well as the community as a whole.

The choir, which has made numerous public performances, is led by soul singer Siobhan Brown of Manukahunney.

Siobhan says: “I’m proud that our choir can support Lorraine and Naomi in raising much needed funds. We put together a video and I really hope that you will enjoy it, be inspired by it and that you will be inspired to help us help Naomi.”

The musical video will be released at 7pm on the Manukahunney Youtube channel.

Siobhan Brown.

For more information or to make a donation, visit


Click here to read: Old Mill scheme was first of 5,000 Clanmil homes


Cairde Community Choir members.

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