Sunday 2 April 2017

#ScoliosisStories: Gary Farrell

Raising awareness for Scoliosis is so important. Every day there are so many people in pain, wondering when they will get called for that life saving surgery. Today someone who is a gift to us Scoliosis Warriors has helped over 1500 members as well as every person with scoliosis in Ireland. Today Gary Farrell shares his story:

"I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Disease when I was 15 years old so along with scoliosis I also have kyphosis and lordosis.

At the time in Ireland there wasn't much information available for those affected by scoliosis so I found that people had to look to other countries and try to connect with people from the likes of England and The U.S. just to try get more info and support, so in 2010 I set up a Facebook page to try connect with others who were in similar situations and I'll never forget the first night we had 2 friends, fast forward over 6 years and we now have over 1500 members.

We were the first Irish scoliosis support group to bring both the disgraceful waiting list issue to national attention and to fight for the reintroduction of school screenings. We've appeared on T.V, radio and newspapers around the country and we're recognised by hospitals and surgeons across the globe for the awareness we raise.

We have petitions to The Minister for Health, Director General of The HSE and The Minister for Education and Skills in order to secure a better future for children affected by scoliosis in Ireland.

We recently won The Volunteer Ireland Award for Campaigning and Awareness Raising but no amount of awards can compare to the bravery of our members, the parents and children who fight every day for better conditions and a reduction in waiting times for scoliosis surgery.
I appreciate their support so much and there's been lots of friendships made between members since the group started, I really admire them all.

Our main aim at the minute is to bring down waiting times for scoliosis surgery and get those screenings back in schools across the country. There's no doubt in my mind that screenings will happen, it might take a little while but we're fighting every day, we're in talks with The Minister for Health at present and explained to him how important they are and the stupidity of removing them from schools in the first place. We met with him in September last year and we're in the process of arranging another meeting so we'll know more soon.

It's disgraceful in this day and age how anyone could let a child or adult wait for up to 24 months for surgery, it's upsetting and really frustrating so we're trying to get those waiting times down to 4 months and if Simon Harris keeps his word then hopefully we'll see a difference from April because we won't stand for this any longer.

Scoliosis can certainly affect more than just the spine with most people having other issues but just to let others know that they're not alone, there's support out there and don't be afraid to talk to others, I've found it great to talk to other members.

Never give up no matter how hard things get, I know it's not easy but I can guarantee that just by others telling their stories that it's inspiring someone so keep up the fight!"

Thank you so much Gary for sharing your story. Scoliosis Ireland has really helped me, if I ever had a query about medicine, pain or general scoliosis questions, Gary or a member of the Facebook Group has always been there. If you need some Scoliosis support, join Scoliosis Ireland today!

If you would like to share your Scoliosis Story, you can email me at or you can message me on any of my social media's linked below:


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