Isabella Lindsay, 14, of Haysville, Kansas, an eighth-grader at Haysville Middle School, established a local chapter of “Curvy Girls,” an international peer support group for girls with scoliosis, and has provided more than 90 care packages for young scoliosis patients who have undergone spinal fusion surgery. Last year, Isabella had surgery to correct her scoliosis. “This surgery is very difficult and the recovery time is long (one year),” said Isabella. “I had to relearn to walk, sit, and do just about everything again.” The bright spot during her hospitalization was getting gifts from friends and family when they visited, but she noticed that some kids had no visitors. She returned home eager to provide a gift for every child undergoing spinal fusion surgery at Wesley Children’s Hospital in Wichita, and to share her experience with others dealing with scoliosis.
Isabella had heard about Curvy Girls, but was disappointed to learn there wasn’t a chapter in her area. So she volunteered to start and lead one. She organizes a monthly chapter meeting where 10 or more teen members and their mothers share their stories, talk about the problems they face, and take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. She also began holding fundraisers to make her spinal fusion care packages, which include blankets, adult coloring books, colored pencils, grippy socks and personal care items. Isabella wrote a blog for a scoliosis website about what to expect after spinal fusion surgery, and has connected through Instagram and video chats with more than 500 people around the world who need support from someone who knows what they’re going through.