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Paige’s Juvenile Scoliosis Story: Supporting Other Kids with Lemonade & Higgy Bears

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Paige in her brace

When Paige’s parents took her to her yearly checkup at age 5, her pediatrician, Dr. Kimberly Kinney at Orangetown Pediatrics, noticed a small bulge in her shoulder. “It was so subtle, nobody really understands how she saw it,” says Paige’s mom Tennille Marino. Dr. Kinney recommended Paige see a specialist.

Paige saw Dr. Avrum Joffe at Preferred Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, where an X-ray showed a spinal curve of 16 degrees.

After an MRI to rule out any underlying conditions, Dr. Joffe confirmed that Paige had juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, a type of scoliosis that accounts for 10-15% of all idiopathic scoliosis cases in children and is typically diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 10.

A curve of 16 degrees is still in the range where observation is recommended, so Paige and her family waited, and watched. At her next X-ray a few months later, the curve had progressed to 22 degrees and it was time for bracing.

Paige’s family was already familiar with both scoliosis and Boston Orthotics & Prosthetics. A relative’s daughter had been diagnosed with scoliosis and worn a brace, and a cousin had experienced a hockey injury and gone to Dr. Joffe for treatment.

The family visited the Boston O&P clinic of River Edge, NJ and Paige was fitted for a brace. After a few adjustments, Paige says it feels comfortable and doesn’t bother her. Paige first got the brace when she was in kindergarten, and the teacher talked to the whole class about it so Paige wouldn’t be overwhelmed with questions from the other kids.

When it’s time for gym class, Paige goes to the nurse and takes the brace off. “I can take it off all by myself,” says Paige. “It’s easier with my second brace than my first brace.”

As part of her scoliosis journey, Paige discovered Higgy Bears. “It’s a stuffed animal with a brace,” says Paige. “It’s for people that have a brace and want a bear to sleep with.” Paige has two Higgy Bears, both named Sparkle Fairy, and she wanted to do something to help other kids with scoliosis get their own Higgy Bear.

Paige’s lemonade stand raised $1,500 to buy 41 Higgy Bears

She decided to raise money with a lemonade stand, and ended up raising $1,500. The family used to buy 41 Higgy Bears, which they donated to Dr. Joffe and Boston O&P to give to patients.

“I love this child,” said Cara Kuppersmith, CPO, MSPO, who has been seeing Paige at the Boston O&P of Manhattan clinic. “Even though she’s dealing with her own scoliosis treatment, she still has time to donate Higgy Bears to other Boston O&P clinics to help kids going through the same thing.”

A few weeks later, at another appointment with Dr. Joffe, Paige actually had the opportunity to give a Higgy Bear to a child in person. The girl, also a patient of Dr. Joffe, had just been diagnosed with scoliosis and Dr. Joffe arranged for Paige to give her one of the bears she had donated to his office. Now another girl starting her scoliosis journey has a little bit of extra support, from her very own Sparkle Fairy.


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