Joe O’Brien was a junior in high school when he was diagnosed with scoliosis; at the time he was 15 years old. Initially, he felt alone, afraid, and as a fraction of himself; still, he viewed his entrance into the hospital as an adventure.
Little did he know the treatment would ail him more than knowledge of his condition.
He spent 30 days on a stretching rack, had 2 spinal surgeries, and spent almost a year in bed with a body cast spanning from his head to his hips. Today he has undergone a total of 6 surgeries, has worked with the National Scoliosis Foundation, and works to transform his experiences so that they can positively transform the lives of others.
Each of Joe’s surgeries proved to be personal obstacles for him. Through these he has gotten married and has built a family. Hearing that 3 of his children have scoliosis proved to be obstacles he was much more sensitive to than each of his recoveries. He hopes to see advancement in non-fusion technologies to help the spine better maintain its natural function and avoid progressive deformity issues. In the long term, he hopes to see safe and effective preventative biopharmaceutical solutions replace current orthopedic devices.
Joe would like all those recently diagnosed to know that they are not alone, there is hope and help along the way. Knowledge of scoliosis is key and he recommends learning as much as possible about the condition and the option available so that one can choose the path that will get them to their dreams. Your experience and determination will guide you to live an enriched life where you can grow to help others as well. Today, Joe loves to spend time with his family and also invests time in scoliosis advocacy. Living and active lifestyle is also a daily hobby of his; he walks 1-2 hours a day while praying and meditating. Happily, he describes himself as a passionate and caring scoliosis advocate who is joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.