Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Curvy Girls Unites Scoliosis Patients

Founded 2006 by Leah Stoltz, Curvy Girls ( is an international scoliosis peer support system. Leah founded the organization “talk to other girls who were going through the same thing--- feeling alone, different, angry about their brace, and worried about having to have surgery.”

Leah’s Story
“Fitting in isn’t easy when you’re a teenager wearing a body brace 23/7. I was finishing my first year in middle school when I was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and had to wear that “thing” to school. I wore my brace faithfully despite arguments and failed attempts to hide my brace in my locker. Ultimately, I required surgery to correct the two curves growing in my back. On June 27, 2006, I had two titanium rods and 22 screws affixed to my spine. My biggest concern was that I wouldn’t be able to dance for a year.”

Curvy Girls acknowledges that scoliosis affects the patients both physically and mentally. “While the back brace is supporting our bodies, Curvy Girls is our emotional brace. We need to help our girls feel better about themselves from the inside out.”

Patients are able to find local support on the website and local leaders within their own neighborhoods. In the Richmond area, Marissa and Ella are Curvy Girl leaders excited to connect with new friends.

Marissa is 11 years old and excited to be a Curvy Girls' Leader. She was diagnosed with scoliosis in June 2017 and began wearing a Boston Brace in August 2017. She wear it for 16 hours a day, even though she says it is “SO uncomfortable!” She did get used to her brace and now enjoys acting, musical theater, singing, playing piano, dancing, and hanging out with friends and family.

Ella is 11 years old and loves staying active in sports and with her friends. Her favorite sport is gymnastics, but she also plays soccer, dances and is on the swim team.  She was diagnosed with scoliosis in August 2017, the summer before her 5th grade year.  Her curve was at 20 degrees and she was told she needed to wear her back brace 18 hours per day. She has 2 sisters and is in the middle sister.  Both Ella and her younger sister were diagnosed with scoliosis at the same time. Her younger sister is 8 years old and has a 25-degree curve.  Both girls feel blessed to have a sister to share their journey. She is excited to be co-leader with Marissa of the Richmond area Curvy Girls’ group. Her hope is to carry on the positive message and support that she has received for many girls in the area. 

Next meeting is:
June 17th at 1:00pm
July 15th at 3:00pm

Then e-mail Marissa and Ella for location.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How To Get Active For Spring

Thank goodness for Spring! Longer days, warmer temperatures, and the opportunity to get back out there and enjoy our favorite spring sports and activities. If you’re a new amputee, or maybe you’re been an amputee for a while, but are ready to be more active – now is a great time of year to get started. Sports are a great opportunity to connect with other amputees and enjoy the camaraderie of taking on challenges together. You might have some questions on what’s right for you, so we have a few tips to get you started.

There are many opportunities for people living with limb loss to get back out in the world and live an active lifestyle. The activities range from golf to running to rock climbing and skiing to much more.  The amount of activities that can be adapted for amputees to participate is nearly endless.

One of the easiest activities to get started in is cardiovascular exercise. Most people still hate it; but its benefits are essential to good health. Cardiovascular exercises strengthen your heart and reduce body fat. Getting your heart beating a little faster also helps to relieve stress, which is also important for a healthy overall well-being.

“There are many forms of cardiovascular exercises that amputees can take part in, with or without a prosthesis,” according to The Amputee Coalition,  “Some are better suited for active amputees, while others are better suited for those who are beginners or who may have medical restrictions.”

There are many options of cardiovascular equipment to choose from. If you don’t have access to cardiovascular equipment, or a gym membership, now is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy nature. The weather is still relatively cool, and perfect for getting some fresh air. On days when the weather is not so great, walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike is a good way to get started.
If you’re ready to progress into something different, looking for an organized team, or just more information - we’ve compiled a list of resources for more information about specific sports or organizations.
  • has a large directory of sports and activities for amputees
  • Disabled Sports USA’s mission is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs.
  • The Amputee Coalition, provides a downloadable fact sheet of sports programs.
  • The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) is one of the largest therapeutic recreation agencies in the world. The NSCD offers a variety of year-round sports and recreational adventures.
  • The Wheelchair Sports Federation is a national non-profit that provides opportunities for the disabled and wheelchair-bound adults and youth to play sports recreationally and competitively.
  • New England Disabled Sports (NEDS) is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, providing adaptive sports instruction to students of all ages and abilities. 
  • The National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA), is supported by the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and the United States Golf Association (USGA). NAGA currently has over 2,000 members in the United States and some 200 players from 17 other countries.
  • The American Amputee Soccer Association (AASA) is the governing body for Amputee Soccer in the United States and is a member of both the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Their outreach programs help interested players maximize their proficiency, build self confidence, learn the power of teamwork, all while building a strong social network.
  • The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team’s (WWAFT) mission is to raise awareness and support for our wounded warriors and their families. The team is made of up service members who have served and are now using a prosthetic device to engage in everyday life activities.  By showcasing our team on the football field, the WWAFT seeks to inspire our fans and highlight the perseverance of our service members (both active and former) who continue to face life’s challenges without excuses.
  • Ski 2 Freedom provides free information so that people with physical disabilities or other special needs and their families to enjoy the physical and affective benefits of mountain activities such as skiing or snowboarding.
  • Sportable. The reason Sportable exists is to transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities through sport!
  • Challenged Athletes Foundation. A group that supports those with physical challenges – empowering them to find community, confidence, and conviction. 
  • USA Paralympics. A division of the nonprofit United States Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic Movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with Paralympic-eligible impairments, including physical disabilities and visual impairments.
  • Sheltering Arms. An adaptive golf program at Sheltering Arms offers education and opportunities for safe and enjoyable participation in golf.