Local Teen Starts Bozeman/Gallatin Valley Region Curvy Girls Scoliosis Support Group

Layla of Belgrade is 11, soon to be 12, and dealing with the challenges of Scoliosis—a curvature of the spine. Knowing what it’s like to wear a hard plastic torso brace 24/7 to middle school, dealing with bullies, and worrying about having spinal surgery to correct the growing curve, she wants other girls with scoliosis to know they are not alone. Layla was diagnosed with scoliosis during a routine exam with her pediatrician at age 7. She has been wearing a brace 20 to 23 hours per day ever since, until now. Layla was able to hold back her curve with bracing, but now is scheduled for spine fusion surgery in April and will be adding that to her scoliosis journey.

Curvy Girls brings girls together to raise awareness and to support one another at monthly meetings, hospital visits, and brace-wear shopping trips. Because teens with Scoliosis typically feel self-conscious about their appearance and often have to wear a hard plastic torso brace up to 23 hours a day, they tend to isolate and may experience depression. Support groups provide an important opportunity to share concerns and information.  

Curvy Girls of Bozeman is a chapter of an international group started in 2006 by then 13-year-old Leah Stoltz of Long Island, N.Y. Since being featured on national television’s Nickelodeon HALO (Helping and Leading Others) Awards Show in 2009, and the 2017 Inégal campaign in collaboration with TeenVogue and model Martha Hunt, Curvy Girls has grown to over 100 chapters throughout the world.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is a medical condition of unknown cause in which a preteen/teen has an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. On an x-ray, the spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line. Conventional treatment is through bracing, scoliosis-specific exercises and surgery. Scoliosis progresses 10 times more frequently in girls. In an attempt to halt curve progression and avoid spine surgery, bracing is continued throughout the growing years.

“Scoliosis affects us both physically and emotionally. While the back brace supports our bodies, Curvy Girls is our emotional brace,” says founder Leah Stoltz. “We need to help our girls feel better about themselves from the inside out.”  

Layla welcomes girls with Scoliosis to contact her so that together they can continue to make a difference. Visit www.curvygirlsscoliosis.com and learn more about Layla and Curvy Girls of Bozeman.