Finding the Beautiful Swan Within

The year was 1979, and Shari was a shattered 11-year-old girl.

With a spine curved so severely by scoliosis that she struggled to lift her head to look forward, she was the target of her classmates’ abuse.

“I would get kicked. I would get spit on,” she said, struggling to hold back tears even 43 years later. “They said I looked like a monster. I guess I really did.”

But then Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis entered her life via a scoliosis screening at Grand View Middle School near her Ware, Missouri, home. Though they were doctors and nurses who visited, Shari calls them by another name: “My angels.”

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