GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, but for one central Ohio family, raising awareness for the spinal deformity carries into July.
This month marks the two-year “spineaversary” for Caitlyn Webster from Grove City, and her parents are celebrating with an elaborate sign to help spread the word about their daughter’s journey battling scoliosis.
Heartbreaking, like, how did we miss it?”
That was the question Gayle Webster asked herself when she first saw the x-ray of her then-11-year-old daughter’s spine.
“And it was an S shape,” Webster added.
Doctors immediately diagnosed Caitlyn with scoliosis.
“It’s the curvature of the spine,” said Gayle Webster. “It’s when you see uneven shoulders or an indention in the back of your child.”
“I’d usually get stomach pain a lot out of nowhere for some reason,” said Caitlyn Webster. “I wouldn’t really eat much because of the pain.”
After seeing multiple doctors around the country, in July of 2019, Caitlyn visited one of the top spinal surgeons at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia.
“It took a bigger curve, to 85 at the top and 74 at the bottom,” Gayle Webster said.
Now at age 13, Caitlyn has undergone two spinal surgeries and doctors believe they have successfully stopped the curve progression in her spine.
“We all celebrate because it was a life-changing event for our kids,” Gayle Webster said.
As a testament to her daughter’s perseverance, Gayle designed a huge yard sign filled with Caitlyn’s favorite things like ice skating and video games to celebrate the second anniversary of her first surgery.
“I was surprised,” Caitlyn Webster said.
“Her dad brought her over after I had done it, I was like, ‘All right, you can come over now,’” Gayle Webster added.
She hopes wearing t-shirts that read “Caitlyn’s Crew” and the “Spineaversary” yard sign will help raise awareness for this condition in children.
“Most parents don’t pay attention to their child’s back,” Gayle Webster said. “The schools don’t check for it anymore…they don’t, and if it wasn’t for her pediatrician’s appointment, we would not have caught it.”
Caitlyn has to return to Philadelphia every six months for spinal check-ups, but her family embraces and celebrates that Caitlyn is bent, not broken.
“To mean that they’re not broken, they might be bent, yeah,” Gayle Webster said.