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“Running to help the three per cent “
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“Running to help the three per cent “

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Timi OlajunguDispelling the myths about scoliosis is only one objective of runners who took part in a unique event held across the country, writes Timi Olagunju, 30, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

The world is made of over 7.4 billion people (and in Africa, over 1.2 billion people), of which 3 per cent live with Scoliosis. Surprisingly, only few people know about scoliosis (including those whose children are affected by it), despite the fact that it affects about 30 out of every 1000 people in the world.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine – the spine is curved to one side of the body, rather than straight. It affects girls more than boys and occurs most often during the pre-adolescent years (10 to 16 years) when girls are self-conscious and insecure about their changing bodies. 80 to 90 per cent of scoliosis cases are idiopathic (meaning they have no known cause) and while there are treatment options, scoliosis has no 100 per cent cure.

In light of the lack of awareness about this life changing experience during a child’s growth, ‘Beyond a Curved Spine’ (BACS), organises programs to increase awareness about scoliosis across Africa. One of such was on July 18, 2016, when BACS partnered with Truppr (a social fitness app) to organise the first-ever scoliosis run in Nigeria. It was held in Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, and Abuja.

Truppr is a social tool that enables sports lovers to organise and find fitness events and team mates for their favourite sports. The app connects people with fitness and sporting events, but beyond that it also supports causes and events that impact lives, ‘not only at Christmas’.

In addition to the advocacy efforts of BACS on scoliosis, it also tried to dispel a few myths about the condition. Through its awareness campaign, BACS established the fact that scoliosis is not caused by a child carrying heavy school bags or anything a child did or didn’t do. The campaign also educated on the signs of scoliosis, which include asymmetry of back, head slightly off centre, uneven shoulders, clothes not hanging properly, or one hip higher than the other.

timi 2 BACS Founder and Mr JaphethAccording to the founder, Abimbola Oladapo, who narrated her personal story with scoliosis for those at the event and through her article (www.onepowerwoman.com/2016/04/29/beyond-a-curved-spine), “depending on the severity of the curve, treatment options vary from bracing to physiotherapy and spinal fusion (surgery).”

She further stated that scoliosis patients are encouraged to engage in exercises such as swimming, core strengthening exercises, yoga. She emphasised the point that early detection is key to managing scoliosis effectively.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even your background, should put your back on the ground,” Abimbola Oladapo stressed. She called on people living with scoliosis or who know people living with scoliosis to support this great cause on www.beyondacurvedspine.com.

Reach me on Twitter @timithelaw

Photos courtesy of Timi Olagunju

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About me: I am a Development Practitioner and a Cyberspace Lawyer. I run SME GrowthHub, providing legal and business support to Individuals, Startups, and Innovators in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. I am co-Founder of Nigerian Youths in Motion (NYM) and Groundswell (www.groundswell-edtech.com), the first financial educational technology company in the West, East, and North African Sub-region. I am a recipient of the President Obama Award for young African leaders.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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