Local News

Local Teen Uses Web To Offer Scoliosis Patient Support

Posted May 6, 2003

— A local teen is using his experience with scoliosis to help others around the world.

Justin Oswalt, 18, said that when he logs on to his computer, there is a good chance that someone is waiting to talk to him about scoliosis.

Oswalt's spine used to be severely curved.

"In some ways it still is," he said.

Two years ago, Oswalt created the

Adolescent Scoliosis Society of North America

.

He started the online organization while he was recovering from spine surgery. He said he wanted it to be a place for teenagers with scoliosis.

"[To] inform them, let them know and share their experiences," Oswalt said.

The society has 150 members in the United States, Canada and England.

Oswalt said it allows members to chat online about scoliosis and their worries about surgery.

"Kids have come to me terrified, breaking down in tears every time they think about it. By the time they're ready for the surgery, they're not worried at all," he said.

Oswalt is trying to make hospitals interested in his project and also recruit more members from his home state.

"I can't believe there are more people just in Denver that I talk to than there are in the entire state of North Carolina," Oswalt said.

Oswalt said he does not mind spending long hours updating the Society's Web site.

"I enjoy challenging myself. This gives me something to look forward to," he said.

Oswalt plans to begin his pre-medical studies at East Carolina University in the fall, but said he will continue to run the Society.

"My two major priorities are education and make sure I can help as many people if I can," he said.

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