When life throws you a curve


Katelyn Winkler ’19 demonstrates how she had to tie her shoes with her brace on. The brace prevents her from bending over so she had to find a more efficient way.

When Katelyn Winkler ’19 was 12 years old she was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, meaning her spine was curved out of shape with no exact cause. “All these words were being thrown around,” Winkler said. “I felt like I had no control over what was happening to me,”

In 2006 Leah Stoltz started Curvy Girls or CG, a support group for girls who have been diagnosed with scoliosis. Many girls over the world have started groups for their home town, and back in 2014 Winkler started the Iowa branch. “My mom came across their website and for about a month we were talking about it, but there wasn’t a group in Iowa,” Winkler said. “So I thought ‘why not?'”

I felt ugly, and broken and I felt like I had this big secret that I was carrying around with me.”

— Katelyn Winkler

Right away, Amy Winkler, Katelyn’s mother, was skeptical about starting the Iowa branch. “At first I thought yeah no way, not us,” Amy Winker said. Though after the group started she took a different stance towards the group.

Amy Winkler found that Curvy Girls was an amazing support group for not only girls, but also for parents. “We don’t always have access to our doctors or to the answers we need, but if you post a question on the CG parents Facebook you’ll get at least five people answering the question within minutes,”


Everything changed for Winkler after her diagnosis. “I felt ugly, and broken and I felt like I had this big secret that I was carrying around with me.” Winkler said.  “After I found Curvy Girls, and the more I connected with the people apart of Curvy Girls, I felt less alone.”

Every month girls from all across the state of Iowa get together for a CG meeting. Here they can talk about anything from clothes that best compliment their brace to questions they should ask their doctors about upcoming surgeries.

Every summer there is the CG scoliosis international convention held in Rhode Island, New York where hundreds of girls gather from all across the world. At the previous convention Winkler delivered the keynote speech. “I knew there was no other audience in the entire world, that would understand what I was talking about,” Winkler said “It was a surreal moment.”

Winkler says that Curvy Girls helps girls turn a bad situation into something amazing. “Curvy Girls is about empowering yourself and realizing how beautiful and strong you are even if life throws you a curve,” Winker said.