Young Person Dealing With Scoliosis Offers Support in Appalachia





Recently, I had a chance to sit down with a brave 14-year old girl named Abby Rank who, on January 27th, 2014 underwent an 11 and a half hour surgery on her back to help correct her progressive scoliosis. Abby is from Winchester, Kentucky and is the state leader of a national support group called Curvy Girls whose slogan is “We’ve Got Your Back.”

The group was started in 2006 by another young woman named Leah Stoltz. You can visit the above link to find out more about the group that does many activities and has an annual convention. This from their website:

“How did Curvy Girls begin?

My intention was simple— I wanted to talk to other girls who were going through the same thing— feeling alone, different, angry that I had to wear a brace, and worried about having to have surgery.

After an all adult group meeting, I said, “I wish they had this for kids” to which my mom said that I could make my own group. So I did. At my orthopedic appointment I told them about my idea and they offered to send out flyers to all their “scoli” patients. That’s when the calls started coming in. I held our first group in 2006 right before my fourteenth birthday with 4 girls—one of which was me! At our first group we talked about clothes and I brought down shirts to show how to disguise their brace by layering tops.”

Abby is doing very well, though she will remain under restrictions for a full year following the January surgery. After the surgery, she grew a full three inches! Abby is a super talented young woman who participates in dance, gymnastics, plays the piano, sings, and is advancing to a state speech competition with her 4-H group. It is clear that she hasn’t let her disease stand in the way of her life.

When she gets older, she would like to perhaps be a physical therapist and motivational spokesperson. In part, this is because the physical therapy was so instrumental in helping her.

This is from Abby’s page on the Curvy Girl website:

“Hello my name is Abby. I am proud to be the Kentucky Curvy Girl Leader.  I wish I had found this support group earlier because just from my experience so far with talking with Robin and receiving my package from Leah, I know my journey over the past year would have been a little easier.

My Mom discovered the Scoliosis in my back in September 2010.  I really didn’t understand why she was concerned until I learned a little bit more at each doctor’s appointment.  I didn’t feel any different and just continued to participate in all of my normal activities.  The doctor makes it sound so bad at times.  I began to feel scared and didn’t want anyone to know.

I am a girl who enjoys my family and going for long walks on our property in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.  I play softball and am learning to pitch this summer.  I also enjoy dancing with our praise team, playing piano, and swimming whenever I get a chance.  I also competed in my first county fair pageant this summer; I received Ms. Congeniality!

I have decided to join the Curvy Girls as the Kentucky – Bluegrass Region group leader to be there for other girls and help them with their journey.  It took me a long time to find someone to talk to and it didn’t have to be that way.”

Kudos, Abby! What an inspiration!


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