Shae Smith is a force to be reckoned with. The seventeen-year-old from Bolivar, Missouri, is a competitive dancer, pageant competitor, and winner of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for Missouri. When she was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11, she not only fought to correct her own condition, she is now on a mission to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
As her condition worsened, Shae began an aggressive program to stop the progression of the curve including bracing and Scolismart, an activity suit that harnesses natural movement to create new muscle memory. She was experiencing pain daily and was uncomfortable sitting on the hard chairs at school. Dancing and softball became increasingly more difficult and painful. When Shae saw pictures of a friend from Scolismart boot camp who had Anterior Scoliosis Correction (ASC), she began researching the procedure. She spoke with numerous people who had undergone the surgery and met with Dr. Antonacci. Her surgery took place on December 3, 2019. At the time of her surgery, Shae’s curve was 60 degrees.
Following the surgery, Shae worked regularly with a physical therapist determined to resume her active lifestyle. Three months post-recovery, with her curve, reduced to 12 degrees, Shae was able to do back handsprings. In July 2020, Shae was a starter on her high school softball team and made it to the quarterfinals. Free from the daily pain that she had previously experienced, Shae has resumed all her regular activities. She has also regained her confidence, no longer trying to hide her condition underneath baggy clothing.
Determined to help others navigate their scoliosis journey, she published a children’s book about her experience called “Beautiful Crooked Letter I” which is available on Amazon. She was the driving force behind declaring a Scoliosis Awareness Day in Missouri and created a fashion show featuring models who all had scoliosis. Shae won the title of Miss Missouri’s outstanding teen in 2019. On May 2nd, 2021, Shae will compete for the Miss Missouri USA Teen title. Her submission photo features Shae in a peacock blue halter dress that proudly shows her scars – a testament to her triumph over challenge.