Standing Strong and Giving Back
Victoria and Megan, past patients and co-creators of beautiful care packages, found passion through their shared experiences with scoliosis treatment and surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada, and were inspired to help others and give back.
After joining a support group for young women living with scoliosis, Victoria and Megan decided they wanted to do even more for all young scoliosis patients. This is when the idea of the care package came to be.
Meet the Girls
Victoria was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 12. Within a year her curvature got much worse and she was put in a brace. “it wasn’t easy starting seventh grade with a brace,” she explained. “Most girls my age were experimenting with make-up while I was trying my best to conceal my brace with as many layers of clothing as I could find.” Victoria was embarrassed by her brace at that age, and it affected her personal life. She would eventually still require surgery for her back, despite all her efforts to avoid it (physiotherapy, chiropractic, etc). She went in for surgery just before her high school prom. She just wanted to wear a dress and heals to her prom, without a brace, and forget the whole experience with scoliosis ever happened to her. It took her some nice to come to terms that her scoliosis was not her enemy, but a part of who she was. With this revelation, she made it her mission to help at least one person with scoliosis feel supported and less alone.
Following a soccer injury, Megan was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 14. While it initially came as a shock, the diagnosis also brought some relief for unanswered questions she had, including why her hips didn’t sit symmetrically, or why she had so much back pain growing up. She feels very fortunate that she was then followed at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada, where she was received with compassionate care. Her curvature was just below the bracing requirement, so she opted for conservative management and pursued the physiotherapeutic Schroth Method, which not only curbed the progression of her spinal curve, but also alleviated many of her symptoms. Her biggest takeaway was when her physiotherapist introduced her to Curvy Girls Scoliosis, an international support group for girls with scoliosis. She joined right away and even became the lead of the Montreal, Quebec chapter.
We want them to know that someone is thinking of them.
Victoria and Megan could not help but think about all the other children and teenagers whose lives had been affected by scoliosis. They knew firsthand that this diagnosis came with not only physical implications, but psychological ones as well. Aside from the pain and discomfort, the treatment and process can affect a young person’s body image and confidence. On top of this, many patients also have to go undergo invasive surgery, which can be very daunting. This is where the comfort kits came into play. With all the negativity and pain surrounding scoliosis and spine surgery, Victoria and Megan saw a need for comfort. They then created care packages for patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada with items they felt they would want after undergoing surgery.
They hope their care packages, filled with thoughtfully curated items that were donated for this cause, can help to ease their stay in the hospital and offer ‘’a little bit of comfort’’ to these young patients recovering from spine surgery. “We hope to enrich the experience of those with scoliosis and turn it into a positive one!”