Many thanks to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to live on and give on. #LiveOnGiveOn #BakkenInvitation
“Embrace what’s difficult.”
Those are the words are the words of inspiration from Sami. Sami is one of the Bakken Award Participants who is being recognized for her extraordinary accomplishments. The Bakken Invitation celebrates and connects people who, with the help of medical technology, have overcome health challenges and are making a difference in their communities. Each of the 10 Bakken Honorees will earn a $20,000 grant for Medtronic Philanthropy to be given to their designated charity and Sami has chosen SHIFT Scoliosis as her charity due to the fact that she lives with scoliosis every single day of her life.
Sami is 17 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11. Scoliosis is a lateral (sideways) curve of the spine that is not supposed to be there. Scoliosis happens during the growing years and gets worse and worse, eventually leading to medical issues. Depending on the degree of the curve, many times a person needs to wear a brace or even needs surgery to prevent it from getting worse.
Sami was a very competitive swimmer and due to scoliosis, she had to quit swimming all together at the age of 13. Sami had constant pain, could not breathe, had sleep apnea and hypoxemia (low oxygen in the blood) and neurological issues. She was forced to wear a brace 23 hours a day a year and a half, relied on a breathing machine at night and then needed spinal fusion surgery in 2012 to correct her scoliotic curve. The instrumentation that is holding Sami’s spine straight includes two rods and seventeen screws and allows her to breathe and stand for as long as she wants. She is finally free to live her life.
Here are Sami’s Words of Inspiration…
"Embrace what’s difficult.
"There were many days on my journey with progressive scoliosis when I felt as if all was going against me – countless medical appointments; the ongoing progression and deterioration of my body; and the pain of being stared at, laughed at, and made fun of. It was overwhelming and hard to deal with as a younger teen.
"I want everyone with a spinal deformity, with any medical condition, to feel validated and to know how perfect, strong and brave they are. I want them to know they are not alone, and to never give up."
Why Am I Highlighting Sami and SHIFT Scoliosis?
When I looked over the 10 participants, Sami stood out because of her scoliosis. My Gracie has scoliosis too, however we were able to catch it before it got to be really bad. Gracie has to have chiropractic adjustments twice a week in hopes of either stopping the scoliosis in it’s tracks so it doesn’t get any worse, or reversing the degree of scoliosis that she currently has. At the moment, it seems to be getting better. Gracie will have to have two adjustments per week throughout her whole life while she’s still growing… so at least through high school. Once she is done growing, she can stop the adjustments and whatever degree her spine is at – it will stay. Reading about how Sami has suffered with scoliosis and overcome is so inspiring and I’m so glad to see her taking part in SHIFT Scoliosis to make a difference.
Here’s Gracie getting adjusted by our chiropractor who comes twice a week:
Here are 10 lessons in living and giving from survivors, including Sami:
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