SOUTH MINDSOR, Conn. (WVIT) - At a time when most young girls are preoccupied with fashion and having a perfect figure, a 14-year-old from Connecticut is drawing attention to her deformity.
Sami Petersen was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, at age 11.
Initially, she said, she was able to hide her 'hump' by wearing baggy clothing but as the condition worsened she was eventually confined to a full body brace for 24 hours a day.
Petersen, who at the time was one of the best swimmers in the state, couldn't even go in a pool, let alone compete.
That wasn't even the worst of it, she said.
Daily activities, like picking something up off the ground, laughing or hugging her sisters hurt.
After exhausting all other options and therapies, Peterson underwent a lengthy surgical procedure last month, during which doctors fused her vertebrae and set her straight.
Now the courageous teen has set out to set the world straight about scoliosis.
Just two weeks after the procedure she posted a video of her journey on YouTube, including photos of her severe disfigurement and her crippling brace, in hopes of inspiring others struggling with the deformity.
Since then the teen said she's heard from people around the world who are sharing their stories and their gratitude.
Petersen, too, is grateful because the scoliosis made her a better person and gave her the opportunity to help others stand tall, she said.