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news News Monday, August 26, 2019 Monday, August 26, 2019 2:49 PM - Monday, August 26, 2019 2:49 PM

From patient to employee, Shriners Hospitals for Children is continually changing lives

From patient to employee, Shriners Hospitals for Children is continually changing lives

By Sydney Sill

Behind every scar is an untold story of survival, and I’d like to share mine with you.

At age 7, my dance teacher noticed my leotard wasn’t sitting quite right on my body. That observation led to a diagnosis that would change my life: scoliosis.

After four years working to manage my curve with bracing, I received the news I had always dreaded. My curve had progressed from 36 degrees to 54 in just six months – I would need a spinal fusion.

Two days after my 12th birthday, I arrived for my surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville and was told there was a high probability that I may never dance again.

With a cadaver bone, my spine was fused together using titanium rods for stabilization, lessening my curvature to about 28 degrees. The year to follow would consist of no physical activity, while I patiently waited for the fusion to complete.

After that year, I was determined to dance again. The days following my return to the studio were frustrating, as I learned to function with a “new back.” But after years of persistence, I was able to find my own way to dance again.

Gaining great optimism through my experience, I wanted to encourage others. I started volunteering at the hospital in high school as a way to thank them for the care on which I couldn’t put a price tag. During that time, I also found my passion for working with children with physical disabilities.

I attended Clemson University, where I graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in non-profit leadership. I was determined to use my degree to impact others. I was told if “you have a job you are passionate about, you will never work a day in your life.” I knew I wanted a career working for the Greenville Shriners Hospital.

Today, I am the new marketing and communications specialist. My journey has come full circle, and I am incredibly blessed for the countless ways this hospital has changed my life. At times, we wonder why things happen the way they do. I am proof that a negative situation can turn into a positive stepping stone that can change the trajectory of your life.

I am thankful for my scoliosis, and the lives that touched my heart to place me here today. Without the Greenville Shriners Hospital, I would not be the woman I am today. I am excited for this journey as an employee and the opportunity to promote an organization driven to provide the best quality care for patients.