Ask any teenage girl, or any grown woman for that matter, about a time when they felt like they didn’t fit in and you will recognize that flash of angst in their eyes. It is a feeling few forget and nearly all have experienced. When you are 14-years-old or even 12 or 16, the last thing you want is to stand out from the crowd. Feeling in any way different can often send teenage angst into overdrive. This is especially true for girls, who feel the pressure of society in oh so many ways.
Despite the fact that 10 percent of all teen girls are diagnosed with scoliosis, an irregular curvature of the spine, most cringe at the idea of being thought of as somehow “different.” But their medical treatment, often requiring up to 18 hours of brace wear daily, can quickly make them feel the anxiety that comes from worrying about not being accepted.
So it was all the more heartwarming to see girls of this age – UNYQ girls undergoing scoliosis treatment – reaffirm their independence, acceptance and right to enjoy their teen years, just like every other girl. Thanks to Slide Ranch and some special guests, UNYQ found a way to make it all happen with a very special “glamping” experience.
You see, UNYQ understands that what we do is much more than serving as a medical technology provider. We are inspired by our UNYQers every day. We breathe in that inspiration, and all the empathy and compassion that comes from hearing the moving, individual stories of those we serve. We think about the completeness of being an individual in society and what makes it so. We think about what it feels like as a young girl to face a years-long prescription for daily brace wear. And we think about what might be missing.
UNYQ is already committed to and has introduced significant advances in scoliosis bracing. UNYQ Align™ is an award-winning, 3D-printed advanced medical achievement that meets the fashion conscious needs of our UNYQ Align community. But it also part of UNYQ’s promise of “style, not stigma” – a mission at the heart of understanding what the customer really wants.
That’s why UNYQ partnered with Slide Ranch to envelop a representative group of teen UNYQERS. The UNYQ Align Getaway took place at the picturesque, ocean-side Slide Ranch camp just across the bay from San Francisco. The weekend program included author and scoliosis survivor, Alyson Gerber, who’s BRACED novel and inspirational talk thrilled the girls.
Professional model and actress Kelly Pantaleoni provided welcome interaction and information about posture, yoga, confidence, and of course, selfie tricks!
Representative of the girls present, 12-year-old Sarah* was empowered by the community experience.
“It’s so cool because everyone here understands what bracing is and knows how to put on a brace correctly.”
Mom of 13-year-old Laura* was thankful, saying, “I think this was great for Laura*. She is still getting used to the brace and I think it is so special what UNYQ is doing for the girls. They are making it more than just a brace.”
We are so glad the attendees and parents feel that way, and we are already beginning to make this camp an annual event. The UNYQ Align Getaway was an inspirational showcase of their empowerment and our holistic approach to style, not stigma. Because to us, it really is more than a brace.
*Names have been changed for privacy