I am a straight-A high school student, daughter, distance runner, dancer, and a Spinal Champion! At the age of 10, I was diagnosed with scoliosis with a spine curvature of 11 degrees. I was being followed by a specialist, but within two years of diagnosis my curvature increased (more than 12 degrees in a six month timeframe!) leading to a curvature of 24 degrees. I had to make the decision as a middle school student to wear a back brace for 20-23 hours a day and it wasn’t easy. I didn’t know how long I would need to wear my brace but I decided to be strong because I knew this choice would potentially prevent me from needing surgery. I’m someone who likes to stay positive and was determined to not let my diagnosis or brace stop me from running, dancing, or wearing the latest fashion trends. There were times in school that I was treated differently because of my brace, but I came out stronger and learned empathy as well as appreciating the differences in all people. Now that I’m done growing physically, I don’t need to wear a brace anymore but I desire to be an advocate for those who do.