Meet Our Mentors
Like you, Mentors are Curvy Girls who sought out peer support during the early teen years of their scoliosis journeys. They each started CG Chapters in their local communities. Now, they continue in the CG spirit of giving back by providing support and guidance to CG Chapter Leaders around the world.
I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13 years old and was immediately sent to be put in a brace for my curve. I wore my brace diligently through all of eighth grade, but ultimately ended up having to get spinal fusion when I was 14 which was really unexpected. I recovered relatively quickly and fully which allowed me to return to and continue my passion for dance.
I became involved with Curvy Girls as soon as I was diagnosed when I reached out looking for support, and ended up becoming the leader of the Columbus, OH chapter. I served as the leader for five years before going off to college, but felt like there was a part of me missing without Curvy Girls. I reached back out to see what else I could possibly do with the organization and served on the DEI committee before becoming a mentor for the mid-Atlantic region.
Curvy Girls and my scoliosis odyssey have greatly influenced my life and I hope that by being a mentor, I am able to give back to the organization and people that have supported me in my entire adolescence and young adulthood. Every day, through my life and my mentorship, I fight for patient autonomy, accessibility, and equity, and my experience with scoliosis greatly informed my decision to pursue a career in genetic counseling in New Jersey. I hope that by being a mentor, I am able to support and advocate for all of the girls that come after me, and to make sure that all Curvy Girls know that there are hands on their back holding them up.
After being diagnosed at age 7 with scoliosis, I wore a Boston brace from 8th grade to my senior year of high school. Thankfully through the Teen Nick Halo awards I found out about Curvy Girls and was able to start my own chapter later that year in Oklahoma. After finishing wearing my brace I thought I was one with treatment, however my spine continued to curve and I had surgery in 2019, during my second year of teaching. Even though I had surgery much later, Curvy Girls was there for me and provided me so much support and encouragement during my recovery.
Now as a mentor I get to support other leaders who are doing the exact same thing I got to do. They are continuing to build support for girls going through the same thing around the world and creating a safe place for future generations. I'm so thankful to know that if my daughter grows up to have scoliosis, there will continue to be an incredible support system of girls who know exactly what she's going through and will help her through the physical and mental struggles that scoliosis has brought to so many of us.
I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with scoliosis after a school screening. I had an unconventional journey but I knew I felt alone and that I didn’t wish any other girl to feel the way I did. That’s when I discovered Curvy Girls. I quickly became a leader in Savannah where I was able to provide the support that I didn’t have.
In my time as a Curvy Girls Leader, I was able to connect with not only girls in my hometown but those across the world with scoliosis. I went from feeling scared and alone to being empowered and comforted. My experience also inspired my career path as I saw a need for more female orthopedic surgeons. I will forever be thankful for the family Curvy Girls provided me and hope to continue to give back as a mentor in my greatest capacity.
I will always seek to provide guidance to young girls going through scoliosis, as a doctor, and most importantly as a person with scoliosis!
I was twelve when I got The Brace. It made me feel squished, embarrassed, and small. I felt my Scoliosis had robbed me of the chance to have a normal life. Recognizing my pain, my mom gave me Straight Talk with the Curvy Girls. As I devoured the book, each story made me feel a little less alone.
Curvy Girls awakened the confidence within myself to love and accept my Scoliosis. I started the Iowa chapter in 2014 and have been a leader ever since. I am elated to continue to give back in this new role and continue Leah’s tradition of “Doing it for the next girl.”
Kirsten, DEI Chair
I was diagnosed with scoliosis by my pediatrician when I was 9 years old, and I got my first night brace two years later. My scoliosis made me feel isolated and scared, so I started the Western Massachusetts chapter in 2016 to feel less alone. I led the group for 7 years, and over that time I met so many wonderful people in the Western MA group and across the Curvy Girls community.
I now work as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of Curvy Girls. In this role I get to collaborate with other Curvy Girls to make these groups a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space for all. I love working with Curvy Girls and I am inspired every day by the wonderful network of support Curvy Girls provides. Curvy Girls helped me find empowerment in my journey with scoliosis and I hope to be able to help others access the power of peer-support.
I was in 6th grade, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. For two years, I diligently wore my prescribed brace. When I finished bracing, my back pain persisted so I started Schroth physical therapy. That's when I found Curvy Girls! I took over leadership of the Seattle chapter until college and the experience changed my life.
Curvy Girls helped me through one of the most challenging times of my life. I no longer felt like I was the only girl in the world with scoliosis. It felt amazing to be surrounded by girls from around the world who understood scoliosis in ways that my friends never could. Being a part of Curvy Girls has taught me invaluable lessons about self-confidence, advocacy, and empowerment. I cannot put into words how special it is to watch girls become empowered by their scoliosis and I hope to be a mentor to them for many years to come!
I was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14 – no pain, no prior recognition of my condition – and was immediately told I would have to undergo spinal fusion surgery. The suddenness of my diagnosis and my surgery, not even a year later, changed my life in countless ways, both physical and emotional.
In school, I frequently shared about scoliosis – these are my x-rays, this is my scar, this is what happened to me – but I didn’t share how any of it made me feel. I didn’t tell anyone that it seemed like my body and my mind were against me. I didn’t tell anyone how anxious and angry and alone I was – until I met another girl who had scoliosis and was fused. She started a Curvy Girls chapter in our area that I attended regularly for five years.
With Curvy Girls’ patient, fierce support, I came to accept my experience with scoliosis and I realized I could decide what it means to me. Today, I am proud to have scoliosis as part of my identity. I love my body (crookedness and all) and I'm energized by helping children and adolescents work through difficult feelings surrounding diagnoses and treatments. I am studying to become a Child Life Specialist.
I cried. I screamed. I vowed I would never wear it! And then one day it almost started to feel comfortable. I found Curvy Girls one night freshman year and through the years I changed from the girl who hid her brace to the girl who didn't care if you could see my brace.
I know the challenges of starting a group. I started the first Massachusetts CG group with only one member. Other girls would come and go but as long as one member kept coming, I knew I was making a difference.
Curvy Girls showed me that I'm not alone and let me create some of the most amazing friendships I will ever have. Because CG had such an incredible impact on my life, I want to continue to pay it forward. I still consider scoliosis to be an integral part of who I am; it showed me how strong I am, and gave me the confidence I needed. I want to give that to you!
After being diagnosed with scoliosis at the end of 6th grade, I wore a Boston Brace diligently for a year and had surgery in 8th grade. I never would have thought that 8 years later I would still be talking about scoliosis but scoliosis still is an important part of my personal story.
Curvy Girls helped me to become confident in myself and provided me with skills to advocate for myself, facilitate small group meetings and form relationships across the world. I started the So. Maryland group after meeting with Leah in D.C. and ran it until leaving for college.
As a leader I was connected to girls in my community and around the world who could understand my experiences with scoliosis. As a Senior Leader and Mentor, I am able to encourage other CG Leaders to establish strong friendships with each other and help them continue the legacy of giving back to their local communities.
Moving forward, I am interested in working in elder care. After my involvement with Curvy Girls, I continue to see how it is important to consider the social, emotional and spiritual well-being of people in addition to serving their physical needs.