Jan 12, 2022 / Scoliosis & Spine

Share Your Story: Defying the Odds

Meet Olivia – a patient who is seen by our spine experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Olivia’s mom, Maggie.

When Olivia was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), we never thought that she would be able to compete like she does today. Olivia is a fierce and competitive girl, and when she puts her mind to it, she defies the odds and can do almost anything. 

We started coming to Scottish Rite for Children in 2017. Olivia is seen by Dr. McIntosh for scoliosis and knee contracture treatment. Dr. McIntosh is great because she is always thinking outside the box to come up with solutions that others may not have considered. Recently, Olivia had growth plate knee surgery to help with her contractures. She was one of the first SMA patients to have this new type of surgery, which would help preserve muscle and tendon strength.

Since age 3, Olivia has found her escape horseback riding. “You get to experience what it would be like if you were actually walking, rather than just pushing yourself around,” Olivia says. For the last couple of years, she has participated in therapeutic horse riding with Equest. 

The horses she rides are incredibly gentle and she has an amazing bond with them — we joke that she is a horse whisper. This week she is competing in the Chisholm Challenge as part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. In the last two years, Olivia has done two virtual horse shows, and this will be her second live competition. She competes in two different events — equitation and trail ride. 

We love the Therapeutic Recreation department and all the activities they do for the kids. Olivia has participated in the therapeutic golf and tennis programs during the summer and Learn to Golf during the year. These programs are especially great because her twin sister has been able to participate with her.

I believe that Scottish Rite for Children is a place where children feel right at home. Despite the orthopedic challenges your child might have, you will never feel as if you are different, and you will always receive wonderful, positive care. 

Learn more about Olivia and see her in action! 



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