DETERMINED Gabby Bedford is not letting a recent diagnosis stop her from doing the sports she loves.
The 12-year-old was told in March she has adolescent idiopathic scoliosis after X-rays showed her spine was curved at a 45-degree angle in two places.
Gabby, from Whiteley, was a keen gymnast and athlete before she was told the devastating news but is determined to carry on playing sports.
She said: ‘When I first found out, I was really crying non-stop and I didn’t want to speak to my friends about it.
‘But now it has been a couple months, I can talk about it and explain exactly what scoliosis is.
‘I have also learnt to modify the sports I do, but it won’t stop me doing them.
I have also learnt to modify the sports I do but it won’t stop me doing them.Gabby Bedford
‘At the moment I am still doing gymnastics, but I know I won’t be able to do it the rest of my life.
‘But there are other sports I can do and I now want to try new ones like paddle-boarding.’
Saturday marked International Scoliosis Awareness Day and Gabby’s parents Sadie and Ben wanted to share her story as part of the awareness event.
They said the condition can often go unnoticed as the spinal curvature is not always visible over clothes.
Sadie, 46, said: ‘Gabby is a young girl about to start her teenage years so she is private about her body, like anyone her age is.
‘If her gymnastic teacher Fiona hadn’t noticed the change in her posture during a lesson, I don’t know when we might have noticed.
‘When we found out about, we were all really devastated.’
Gabby, who attends Henry Cort School, was referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and a scan confirmed she had scoliosis.
The curve in her spine has caused muscles to weaken in her back and her right shoulder to stoop forward.
Since the diagnosis, Gabby has been attending the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London for intense physiotherapy and is doing daily 40-minute exercises.
It is hoped the muscles in her back and shoulders can be strengthened to support where her spine curves.
Sadie added: ‘At the moment, all the doctors suggested was to wait to see what happens with the curvature to see if it gets worse.
‘If it does then one of the only options on the NHS is forced spinal fusion surgery.
‘But there is an alternative operation available in America which we are also looking into. For us it is important to keep our options open when it comes to Gabby’s treatment and ensuring we can make an informed decision.’
Gabby will go for a review in August at Southampton General Hospital to see if the physiotherapy has helped the curvature and if she will need surgery.