Hannah Laurence - 2011 Spirit of Wellness Honoree
At the age of two, Hanna was diagnosed with scoliosis. By her next birthday she would undergo her first of many surgeries to correct what was becoming a debilitating spinal curvature.
Hanna’s scoliosis was pinching a nerve in her back. As a result, Hannah began to loose the feeling in her legs, and with it the ability to walk. The effect of scoliosis continued to progress until one morning Hannah woke up and could no longer move her legs at all.
Out of options, Hannah’s parents wondered if she’d ever be able to walk again. Then in 2009, Hannah underwent yet another surgery, this time to completely rebuild her spine. During this risky operation, metal instrumentation was inserted along the entire spine to remove the curvature and relieve the pressure on her pinched nerve.
But even with a newly reconstructed spine, the work was just beginning for Hannah. The next weeks and months would consist of grueling physical therapy and learning how to walk--for the second time in her short lifetime. Hannah spent hours suspended in a harness while therapists moved her feet one by one, and as the feeling returned, so did Hanna’s confidence.
Back at home in Torrance, Hanna’s family began looking for a personal trainer who was specially trained to work with people recovering from medical setbacks. They realized the Center for Health & Fitness, where Hannah and her mom had already taken yoga classes together, was one of the only facilities to employ Medical Exercise Specialists, and met with Lauren Alnes for the first time.
After more than two years of working with Lauren, Hanna continues to make incredible strides. Hannah has progressed from a wheelchair to a walker, and now she walks completely assistance-free. She’s seen her overall health and well-being improve week after week and month after month.
Hannah continues to be a source of inspiration to other CHF members, and next year hopes to give back by mentoring other young children who are suffering from scoliosis as well. Her words of wisdom are simple but true: “Never give up and keep trying every day.”