We’re In This Together: Creating A Support Network For Girls With Scoliosis
Abby is 12 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2018. Shortly after, she was fit with her scoliosis brace at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland. She and her mom, Christine, began looking to connect with fellow bracers around Abby's age. When they couldn't find what they were looking for, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Read an excerpt of their incredible story below and find the full article on the Shriners website!
"Realizing that there was an unmet need in scoliosis support groups for pre-teen girls, Christine posted flyers throughout her community to gauge interest from other moms. Christine and Abby didn’t receive a single response from the flyers. Unwilling to give up, Christine turned to Facebook in April of 2018. She created a private group with a goal of providing a platform for young girls to share their experiences with scoliosis and meet people who could completely understand each other’s medical journeys. To make the group accessible to as many families as possible, Christine designated the page as "international." “I was expecting five people to join the group,” said Christine. Today, the group has 440 members.
“Abby and her mom have had a very positive attitude toward a difficult situation,” said Todd, certified orthotist prosthetist at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland. “It’s always important to find a way to decrease the sense of stress and isolation that young patients may be experiencing with any diagnosis, and this group is a creative solution for that.”
As an online platform, Christine has taken measures to ensure the safety of each Facebook group member. Each child’s parent is involved in the group, and they have to be vetted and admitted before officially becoming a member. The group, titled Scoliosis Support Group Girls Aged 8-12, has done wonders for Abby. Members of the group include girls from countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Africa and Europe – all of whom relate to each other in their scoliosis diagnoses. Abby has built strong friendships with girls in Texas, New Jersey and Missouri, and she has even traveled to meet one of the girls in person when their mothers arranged it. The visit cemented the friendship between the two girls that much more."