Main Stories 2021 - Back to Healing
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In Mary Lisa’s words, she is a “badass Scoliwarrior,” vice-president, wife, and (new) mother to twins.

She credits her scoliosis journey with helping her build the characteristics that have molded her into, what we can only recognize as, a real-life superhero.

Mary Lisa is an outgoing, charismatic, hardworking, and loyal individual who values family and friendships. At twelve, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and was terrified of the unknown. She vividly remembers being handed a piece of paper during school sharing that she had a curve and needed to see a doctor. Her heart dropped, as she started to cry. She was fearful as to what this all meant. Mary Lisa was braced and eventually fused. Accepting her scar was Mary Lisa’s hardest obstacle. She was insecure for so many years and always wanted to cover it up in any way possible. She shared that Back To Healing really helped her embrace the beauty of her scar and realize that she should be proud to show it off. Through her journey, she learned to persevere and be resilient, strong-willed and determined. If she could give advice to her younger self, she would say:

“You are beautiful, braced or with a scar! Your scar tells such an amazing story and symbolizes all the adversities you had to overcome with scoliosis so don’t hide behind it. Be proud!

When asked about practices that are most important to her mental and physical well-being, she provided an enthusiastic, whole-hearted response:

“Choose joy! I firmly believe that striving to have a positive outlook and mindset daily is key to my physical and mental health.”

She confesses that choosing joy isn’t always easy but knows that she has the power to set a positive intention, to stay active, and to surround herself with individuals that are supportive and uplifting. Mary Lisa hopes that her scoliosis story will provide confidence and comfort to those recently diagnosed. She shares the following advice:

“There is an amazing community of scoliwarrior’s out there and no one should ever feel alone when going through their journey with scoliosis. Keep that positive mindset – you are a Rockstar and this journey will only make you stronger!”



Santhosh, an extraordinary 15 year old Italian by way of India, speaks candidly about his Scoliosis journey. He was diagnosed with Scoliosis at the age of 12 but refused to let it define him. 

He has been able to overcome the struggle of wearing a brace and subsequent surgery, and pursue his passion for musical theater. He talks of self-love and confidence that transcends any diagnosis.

Santhosh spoke about hating his brace, even wanting to smash it, but learned to give himself grace. His advice is to be mindful of all the emotions you experience and give yourself permission to feel all of them. He explains that it’s okay to be frustrated; just don’t let it consume or define you.

“Scoliosis never really affected how I viewed myself. I never really thought about how my body may have looked different than a body with a straight spine…it was more about how I felt about having scoliosis.”

Santhosh’s optimistic spirit is palpable and contagious. He is eager to have his story help other Scoliwarriors.



Elina, a vibrant 9 year old from Miami, Florida, was diagnosed with scoliosis at the young and impressionable age of eight. Her treatment consisted of the challenging task of wearing a brace for 18 hours a day. 

 Though the diagnosis had far-reaching impacts on Elina’s life, her bravery shined through each step of the way. She was limited in her activities at school and felt insecure about being touched because very few people knew of Elina’s brace. However, Elina is passionate about finding activities where she can thrive. When she isn’t sharpening her Warrior II yoga skills, she spends her time practicing art, fashion design, and ballet. She prides herself on achieving high marks in school, despite her hidden struggles.

Elina wants to inspire young Scoliwarriors to believe in themselves and their capabilities. Her two quick tips are to sign up with ScoliosisUS for their free mentorship program, and with Higgy Bears for a miniature brace for your favorite toy or doll to wear. Most importantly, she wants others to know they are not alone! She wants her story to help others cope and thrive with their diagnosis and treatment.



Samantha’s mom describes her as an extremely loving, chatty social butterfly! However, when taking a look at all the obstacles she’s overcome, it is clear that Samantha is an all-around inspiration.

Health struggles have always been prevalent in her life. Samantha was diagnosed with Development Delay, Intellectual Delay, and Abnormality of the white matter of her brain at the age of two years old. Throughout the years Samantha has had many doctors, tests, and therapies. At the age of 9, scoliosis with a 25 degree curvature was added to her list of challenges. She began with bracing, however, a year after the diagnosis, Samantha’s gait pattern started to change. Her family traveled throughout a few states to discuss her specific scoliosis options. The hardest obstacle as a parent was hearing and seeing that your child needs surgery. After making the difficult decision to move forward with surgery, Samantha has been thrilled with the outcome. Samantha is taller, more confident, comfortable, in less pain, and happy that her clothes fit better!

“She has the potential to make great progress and her Spinal fusion has also contributed to the endeavors. We are forever grateful.” Samantha’s Mom

Her family has instilled a positive outlook in Samantha’s character that has proven to be unshakable. They credit this characteristic for helping her through her scoliosis journey. Though she now uses a wheelchair and walker for mobility, Samantha continues to participate in activities that all young kids love. She particularly likes to paint, draw, and play computer games. She recently discovered dance videos on TikTok that have not only been fun to watch, but have also turned into another form of physical therapy. Her favorite is the Piper Rockelle Squad!

By sharing her story, Samantha hopes to help others see that living a happy and joyful life is possible regardless of physical limitations, and that they are not alone in this journey. Samantha’s Mom leaves us with advice for anyone newly diagnosed:

“Be confident with your choices. Believe and trust your scoliosis team. Stay Positive!”

Title: Curves

Medium: Oil on Canvas

By: Mariana Lagunas

Dimensions: 47×55 inches

Year: 2021

*Price Available Upon Request

The global pandemic in itself was not the disease, nor the cure. For the vast majority of people, it became a painful healing process. One that confronted us with our fears, made us re-align our priorities, and lead us to real change. Life Gave Me Curves, 2021, is a piece which captures that feeling with an aesthetic analogy that uses an orthopedic corset; an uncomfortable, sometimes painful garment; a restricting device that, every time we see or feel it, it reminds us of everything we are in the process of healing.

Life Gave Me Curves, 2021, is an open invitation to reflect upon moments in time and the gadgets which helped us improve our health, even with all the pain they caused us. There is no clear-cut moment, or definite timeline marking a before and after, evoked by the “sweeping” floral imagery, inviting movement, transition, and the act of disappearing. The flowers, which appear as an aesthetic window into my most recent series, Back to Healing, 2021, people in transit are depicted with similar references. I strived to communicate a message of life, beauty, radiance, and presence. The corset is displayed as a flower vase which protects and gives structure to a bouquet of flowers, symbolizing a person who is protected and supported by the corset. 

“I’m happy because I no longer need you” and “I cannot or will not live without your protection.”

Title: Semper Augustus

Medium: Cast Bronze

By: David Baskin

Dimensions: 24x57x24 inches

Year: 2021

*Price Available Upon Request

The title of this piece, Semper Augustus, is based on a tulip considered to be the most rare and valuable of all the high-end tulips during the 17th Century Dutch speculative craze known as “Tulip Mania.” A highly coveted flower, Semper Augustus’s unique pattern arose from a genetic defect known as a breaking virus. The rich, dark red streaks and flashes appearing on its petals serve as a powerful metaphor for what seemingly is considered an anomaly, is in fact a unique and singular expression. 

Actual tulips were dipped in wax then cast directly in bronze. 

Title: Breathing

Medium: Video

By: Graciela Cassel

Year: 2021

Watch Video Here:

This video will show, by poetic abstraction, the process of healing possible by interconnecting humans and nature. 

Healing places are possible because of strong relationships between humans, nature, and even cities. After almost two years of having our collective faith worn thin from the fear of covid, a time of recovery is surging. Actions in the video reflect this recovery: rustling of leaves, and, particularly, the lens zooming in 

to capture these moments that each re-signify life. I interpret this time of healing as “breathing”. This healing comes despite the very rough cuts of trauma, as if two branches on a fruiting tree break apart, thereby requiring a wise orchardist to bind up and re-graft them. Two branches, sutured and held with 

a wire, allowing the sap of one branch

to run into the broken one, offering restoration. We humans can heal also: with words that connect each other. After suffering, screaming, dancing, finally healing will reappear in our paths. We will reintroduce nature into us, with movement and rhythm. Breathe! Yes, all of us, every race, all the languages and all the countries will recover from the horrors of our recent life. This connection —a binding together and with nature— will help us breathe.


Title: Corina Corina 

Medium: Modeled Acrylic, Glass and Mirrored Shards on Linen

Dimensions: 90×16 inches

Year: 2021

*Price Available Upon Request

A continuing conversation about the spinal column, how it supports and nourishes us, how any disruption in spinal flow disables us spiritually and physically, the artist, Michael Norton, named this painting after his neighbor, a young model in Tribeca. Corina continues to model successfully while having scoliosis and was kind enough to speak to Norton about some of the incidences she’d encountered that have impacted her modeling career. Norton has also had an intimate experience with spinal surgery himself. A childhood injury and subsequent re-injury in adulthood have given Norton a personal perspective to the challenges associated with physical and emotional recovery process. Fortunately for Norton, his spinal surgeon loved his artwork so much that he suggested they exchanged a painting to fix Norton’s neck. “That’s actually the way we came to agreement. In an email the Doctor wrote: ‘I’ll fix your neck for a painting.”’

Title: Back to Healing

Medium: Black and White Photography Printed and Stretched on Matte Canvas 

By: Troy Anthony

Dimensions: 42×60 inches

Year: 2020

*Price Available Upon Request