If you live in the UK, you probably saw the inspirational young dancer (Julia) with scoliosis on Britain’s Got Talent. If you don’t, or you haven’t seen it, take a look at the video below.
Scoliosis on Britain’s Got Talent
I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was a similar age to Julia (14) and have struggled with body confidence issues all my life.
Watching Julia perform on Saturday night made me feel quite emotional for two reasons:
Firstly, I think she was so brave to go on National TV, proudly showing off her back in a skimpy top. When I was her age, I was so ashamed of my scoliosis that nobody even knew I had it. I kept it a secret and hid my back in baggy clothes. It took me a good ten years or so before I accepted my scoliosis, began to tell people and felt proud of my back. I felt so alone back then, it was especially hard as I didn’t know a single soul with the condition. The fact that she has done this will help and inspire SO MANY teenage girls with scoliosis. Hopefully, it will help them to realise that they are not alone and should be SO PROUD of their bodies. Support and talking to others with the condition is crucial when you have scoliosis.
Secondly, it was absolutely amazing to hear scoliosis mentioned on such a huge prime time TV show. Simon Cowell actually asked what it was..! The awareness that has been raised as a result is absolutely fantastic. My Twitter and emails have been going crazy since Saturday with people wanting to know more about scoliosis. It’s strange because scoliosis is quite a common condition, and yet so many people don’t (or didn’t!) know anything about it. I feel like it’s finally getting the awareness that it deserves!
What is scoliosis?
Whilst the awareness that has been raised is obviously amazing, I also feel that it’s important to educate people on scoliosis and provide the correct information. Scoliosis is NOT commonly caused by back injuries or accidents. In fact, the most common cause of scoliosis is Idiopathic (no known cause). This is the type of scoliosis I have and it is more common in teenage girls during growth spurts. It can also be present from birth (congenital) or develop in children (early onset). It sounds like the latter is the scoliosis that Julia has from her description. If you want to know more about scoliosis, you can check out my page here – what is scoliosis? or visit the Scoliosis Association (UK) website.
Scoliosis surgery is NOT the end!
The last thing I wanted to say on this topic is that it’s a shame that Julia feels she won’t be able to dance post scoliosis surgery. Now this all depends on the level of fusion, but having had the surgery myself (with a long fusion), I don’t doubt for a second that she will be able to dance post scoliosis surgery.
It’s all about attitude and she has such a positive attitude that I believe she will be able to achieve anything she puts her mind to post surgery. Scoliosis surgery does involve fusing the spine, and as a result you DO lose some flexibility. However, you learn to adapt. She may not be able to do some of the moves she can do now, but she should still be able to dance, just in a different way.
Yes, it is a serious operation with a very long recovery (up to a year or more) but once recovered there’s no reason why you can’t do everything you did pre-surgery. It takes time but with determination anything is possible.
I know people who have had scoliosis surgery and gone on to win professional dance and cheerleading competitions! There are so many inspirational scoliosis surgery survivors out there.
Since my scoliosis surgery almost 7 years ago, I have achieved SO many things I never thought would be possible. I have completed a Masters Degree in Marketing Communications with distinction, I have climbed an actual mountain (not easy – one year post op!), I have walked a marathon (26.2 miles) over night for charity, I have ran several 10K and 5K races, I have done muddy obstacle courses, I do classes at the gym I never thought possible such as Body Pump, Zumba, Boxercise, Body Combat and HITT training. I’m also planning a Great Wall of China Trek later this year to raise awareness of scoliosis and raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.
The point is, when I was 14 and first diagnosed, I thought that if I had the surgery my life would be over. In actual fact, having the surgery, was where my life BEGAN.
I know not everyone is as lucky and every case is different, but in my case my scoliosis surgery transformed my life, reduced my pain and increased my self confidence.
I just want to say THANK YOU to Julia for being so brave and helping to raise much needed awareness of scoliosis. I only wish I had her confidence and positive attitude towards scoliosis when I was her age. It will be this that will get her through the surgery and dancing once more.