In July of 2019, Shelby was diagnosed with late-onset idiopathic scoliosis during her sports physical. Shelby’s curve was significant and would require her to wear a brace 23 hours a day and start Schroth physical therapy to try to prevent her curve from increasing and heading towards spinal fusion. This was difficult news for a 13-year-old to digest, and she was worried about how her diagnosis would impact her both socially and physically.
Shelby received her news just a few short days before competing for the Miss Missouri Preteen title. When Shelby was crowned, she knew that God had given her a voice and an outlet to share her story, bring awareness to the importance of the early detection of scoliosis, and be a cheerleader for others who would travel the same path that she has.
Shelby began her platform, EmBrace the Curve, which she is now in the process of turning into her own 501 (c) 3 organization. Through EmBrace the Curve, Shelby has spoken to various groups and political leaders as well as done a presentation on a national stage about her journey and the importance of loving and accepting others no matter their circumstances or challenges. In November of 2020, Shelby received VBT spinal surgery and has increased her goals for EmBrace the Curve. She is preparing 100 kits (with long term visions for many more!) to provide to MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Columbia to share with children and teens as they receive their scoliosis diagnosis and treatment plans. Shelby remembers how alone and sad she felt and she wants other kids to know that someone is there to support and encourage them and has stood in their shoes.
Shelby is also organizing a golf tournament for the summer of 2021. Proceeds from this event will supply “braced” stuffed animals from Higgy Bears to children throughout the state and country who are receiving their scoliosis braces. She hopes this will bring a smile to their faces and make the bracing process a little less traumatic. Through her social media page, shelbys_kitsforcurves, she has connected with and become a mentor to lots of young girls navigating their own scoliosis journeys. Shelby has truly turned lemons into lemonade. Encouraging others brings her great joy and has also helped her heal from her own struggles.
Who inspires you? My mom because she is a successful business owner and she is an amazing role model.
What’s your favorite book? The Hunger Games. I love that Katniss is such a strong woman and makes great sacrifices for the people that she loves.
Favorite YouTube Channel? I don’t really watch YouTube, I am a TikTok girl.
What activities are you involved in? Capital City High School Girls Varsity Golf (Letterman), the current Royal International Miss Midwestern States Junior Teen.
What’s your favorite subject in school and why? Math because while it has been hard in the past, this year it is really making sense to me and I enjoy it. I also love my teacher Ms. Koch who spent a lot of time helping me outside of school when I was recovering from VBT surgery.
Who do you like to have lunch with? My friends at school.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Jefferson City? Play golf. I’m excited that there is now an indoor golf center so I can play year-round!
What’s your favorite movie/tv show and why? Survivor because I love to watch people’s strategies to win the game.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? I would teleport so I could go anywhere at any time that I wanted to – especially the beach!
This or That
Disney or Nickelodeon
Disney for sure
DC or Marvel
Fruits or Vegetables
Laptop or Tablet
Laptop (because you can watch Netflix!)
Pizza or Hamburger
Michael Jordan or LeBron James
Winter or Summer
In-school or At-home classes
PE or Art
Team Kayne or Team Swift
Fortnight or Minecraft
Bike or Scooter
PlayStation or Nintendo
Do you know a Young One to Watch? Any child up to age 18 who is doing something to spread positivity, accomplishing a challenging task, overcoming a daunting obstacle, launching an entrepreneurial endeavor, or brightening people’s days is eligible to be nominated.