Local Teenager Defies Odds, Dances Weeks After Major Back Surgery

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

You'd never know it from the outside, but on the inside...

"It was so painful."

14 year old Kathryn Williams' scoliosis was so severe at times she struggled to walk.

"After like ten minutes I would have to bend over to stretch it out or I'd have to go sit in the car," Kathryn said.

The talented dancer managed to ignore it for the most part until two years ago.

"We went to my physical therapist and they were like, 'it's really bad.'"

"It's called idiopathic scoliosis. Once it starts to take a turn, it keeps going with those growth spurts," said Kathryn's Mother Michelle Williams.

Her spine curved to an alarming 100 degrees despite exhaustive efforts to stop it.

"It's crazy machinery that they put you in. It was really painful. I would cry all the time," said Kathryn.

Surgery was her only other option.

"I was definitely scared," Kathryn said.

"You run the gamut of worst case scenarios," Kathryn's mother added.

During the more than seven hour long procedure, doctors placed two cobalt chrome rods and more than a dozen titanium screws into Kathryn's back. It reduced her spine's curvature to 30 degrees.

"We felt every prayer," her mom said.

"I remember feeling my ribs. Before it was offset. They were even, so I was like 'oh my gosh this is so weird," said Kathryn.

Seven and a half weeks later, Kathryn is already back to dancing just when Panama City Dance Academy needed her most. A teammate sprained her ankle, putting Kathryn back in for this weekend's first competition of the season.

"I'm just going to focus on not forgetting my dance and giving it my all."

Kathryn said she hopes her remarkable recovery can inspire others.

"I might be able to help someone else. There's no point in being negative because that's not accomplishing anything."

If you'd like to wish Kathryn good luck this weekend, feel free to comment on this story with an encouraging note.


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