Lindsay Gordon’s doctor always reminded her, “You are running a marathon, not a race.” It’s advice Lindsay needed after getting diagnosed with scoliosis, the medical condition in which a person’s spine curves more than it should. Only about 2-4% of the teenage population gets scoliosis, but it affects girls disproportionately. In Lindsay’s case, the curvature was severe, which meant she had to wear a back brace 20 hours every day for three years. Four years later, the 17-year-old has finished her treatment, but she’s not done fighting scoliosis. The Pennsylvania high school student launched Strut for Scoliosis this summer, an organization that sells athleisure wear designed to raise funds and awareness for scoliosis research.
The brand’s tees and leggings feature trendy designs that make a significant, but subtle statement. “I’ve always been an active teenager, and with scoliosis, it’s also important to keep a strong core to support the spine,” explains the teen with an eye for fashion, “I chose to design an athleisure line to promote fitness and activity while simultaneously increasing awareness for scoliosis.” All of the proceeds go to Setting Scoliosis Straight, a nonprofit working to research the condition.
The months since launching have given Lindsay a crash course in branding, marketing, keeping inventory, and fulfilling orders. “I never thought that I would design my own brand and run a business as a teenager,” she says. “Confidence and optimism have been key. I’ve had to recognize that running a business takes time, effort, and patience. It is not something that can grow and flourish overnight. You have to step out of your comfort zone and take risks to make a change in this world.”
Even though she’s no longer wearing a back brace, Lindsay still heeds her doctor’s advice about pacing and perseverance, and she’s emphatic that the hard work is worth it. “One day, a young girl with scoliosis approached me. She wanted a shirt to wear to school and show off to all of her friends. It warmed my heart to see her eagerness and confidence to spread awareness for scoliosis. It made me realize that I have the power to dictate what lies ahead for girls just like me.”
Contributor: Celeste Montaño