SUMMIT, NJ –Summit teen Emily Borzner recently participated in a scoliosis awareness walkathon on Long Island, raising $1,500 in donations from friends and family that will be used to help fund scoliosis research and education. In addition, the walkathon raised awareness of scoliosis, which is an S-or C-shaped curvature of the spine that affects the alignment of the bones from nearly every angle.

Emily walked as a member of The Curvy Girls scoliosis support group, a peer-led support group that empowers pre-teen and teen girls with scoliosis to become leaders, make healthy lifestyle choices and improve self-esteem by diminishing the emotional impact of scoliosis. Founded by Long Island teen Leah Stoltz in 2006, The Curvy Girls now has 21 groups across the US, including 2 groups based in New Jersey.

A diagnosis of scoliosis can cause confusion and fear, as well as a sense of being completely alone. Since most diagnoses are made during early adolescence, fitting in with one’s peers can be complicated by the bulky plastic back brace that often accompanies a diagnosis and must be worn every day, often around the clock. The Curvy Girls group seeks to help girls find their voice through support and acceptance.

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Emily was diagnosed by her pediatrician when she was 11 years old and has managed life with scoliosis ever since. After wearing a tight fitting brace during her growth years in an effort to slow the increasing curve of her spine, Emily was told by her doctors at age 17 that she would need surgery to correct the curve.  During the anxious six-month wait for the surgery, Emily learned about the Curvy Girls after watching on television as founder Leah Stoltz was honored with a TeenNick HALO award. Emily contacted the Curvy Girls and was welcomed into the group which provided her with information, inspiration and support as she underwent surgery in January to correct her curve.  Emily is completely recovered from her surgery and continues her involvement with the Curvy Girls, attending monthly meetings and planning with the group for the first ever Curvy Girls National Convention to be held on Long Island in Spring 2012.

Curvy Girls scoliosis support groups are open to any pre-teen or teen with scoliosis. Visit the website for more information.