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Fajr Atif

Plainview, NY
  • Fajr Atif in the photo 1
  • Fajr Atif in the photo 2
  • Fajr Atif in the photo 3
  • Fajr Atif in the photo 4
  • Fajr Atif in the photo 5

I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 7. At the time, I was living in Pakistan and there was little to no proper treatment or knowledge about scoliosis in that region. Fortunately, I was able to immigrate to the US and have the privilege of being treated at one of the most renowned hospitals in the nation. Due to the fact that we had no insurance, Mavis Seehaus, Director, Social Work Programs, and the hospital guided us through the financial aid process (HSS Financial Assistance Program), and helped us qualify so that I could begin my treatment right away. We also met our social worker, Amy Silberman, who is simply the sweetest. Mavis and Amy have been with us from the start and have been our guardian angels every step of the way. It is always so delightful to see them. I am forever grateful for how much they have done for us.

I also met two of my nurses, Alice and Mary, who I would continue to see every visit in the next few years. They are so loving and caring and so enthusiastic to see me. My first doctor was Dr. Boachie. He explained to us what scoliosis was, how I could be treated, and assured us we would be under the best of care. Soon after, he left for Ghana and Dr. Han Jo Kim became my new doctor. To say Dr. Kim was a good doctor would be an understatement. He is simply outstanding and being treated by him has given me great comfort over the years. The first step in my treatment was the brace. Glenn Garrison worked his magic and made me the coolest and most comfortable braces. I remember being 8 years old and picking out what designs I wanted and Glenn enthusiastically making it happen.

Over the course of 3 years, I wore 4 different braces. However, at an appointment at age 10, my angle had gone from 48 to 60 degrees in two months, and I needed surgery. Now, as a 10-year-old, I did not handle that news well and burst into tears, but Dr. Kim comforted me and assured me that everyone would do their very best to make it a comfortable experience. I had my surgery on June 22, 2016, and it went a lot better than I’d hoped. Soon after, I was making great progress walking and moving around. The year of recovery felt like centuries, but it really did fly by. I remember how excited I was when Dr. Kim told me I could do everything. And while that was the end of my journey with scoliosis, I could never forget how caring, kind, and loving everyone was, especially the nurses. Today I am almost 16-years-old, and I love my scar and am so proud of it. HSS has forever changed my life, and I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for each and every person that has been with me throughout this journey. Seeing how amazing the community is at HSS, I am inspired to pursue orthopedic medicine as a profession and eventually shadow Dr. Kim and work alongside the nurses.