Stacy Lewis is an American professional golfer on the U.S.-based Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11 after school screening for scoliosis, and wore a brace for 7½ years, for up to 18 hours per day, only removing it to play golf. During senior year of high school, Lewis underwent a complex, spine-straightening procedure, leaving her with a steel rod and five screws in her back. After long months of rigorous therapy, Lewis showed the world what talent, determination, and advanced orthopaedic surgery can accomplish. On June 1, 2014, the 29-year-old earned her 10th LPGA Tour title that moved her back into the top spot in this week’s world rankings.
Way to honor National Scoliosis Awareness Month!
Here are five more celebrities you may not have known has scoliosis
Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter and Olympian who earned his the title of world’s fastest man and media nickname of “Lightning Bolt, was born with scoliosis. He learned to live and work around the condition and manages his condition with core and back muscle strength. In a December 2011 ESPN interview, Bolt said, “When I was younger it [scoliosis] wasn't really a problem. But you grow and it gets worse. My spine's really curved bad [makes "S" shape with finger]. But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis doesn't really bother me. So I don't have to worry about it as long as I work hard. The early part of my career, when we didn't really know much about it, it really hampered me because I got injured every year.”
Jeanette Lee, a professional billiards player known as “The Black Widow” with one of “the most illustrious careers in billiards history,” was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13 and underwent spinal fusion to alleviate the progression of curvature in her spine. Lee turned pro as a full-time member of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association at age 21—three years after picking up the sport. Throughout her career, Lee suffered from chronic pain due to scoliosis. But, she earned her nickname for her ability to “overwhelm and almost devour her opponents with a dominant game and a fierce glare, while also exclusively wearing black attire during tournaments.”
Rebecca Romijn started her modeling career in 1991 along with other supermodels like Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington. She has appeared in numerous film and television roles and is best known for her roles as Mystique in the X-men movie series. Romijn was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 13. When questioned about always being glamorous and beautiful on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Romijn revealed that as a result of her growth spurt during her teenage years, and because she suffered from scoliosis, she was constantly in pain. But, she learned to manage the pain through exercise.
Vanessa L. Williams—a pop-R&B recording artist, producer, model, and actress—wanted to become a professional dancer, but scoliosis derailed her plans. Williams previously said her scoliosis “was so severe I had to have a spinal fusion where they put 8-inch metal rods and screws in my spine. I just took off one year where I didn't do any physical activity. But then, of course, I was terrified. It's so strange … It felt like having an operation and then healing and going back to your real body. It was really like having a new center of gravity and getting used to a new body.” As a musician, Williams sold over 15 million albums worldwide and received 17 Grammy Award nominations. She’s won a Golden Globe, a Grammy, an Academy Award and the Mary Pickford Award.
- Shailene Woodley began acting at the age of four and is best known for portraying Amy Juergens in ABC Family’s hit television show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 15 and wore a brace for 18 hours a day for two years to help straighten her spine. Of her condition, Woodley joked, “It didn’t faze me. I was like, ‘Some people have crooked teeth, some people have broken fingers, and I’ve got a back that has my initial on it.’” The 22-year-old actress also stars in feature films, such as The Descendants, Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars.