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I want everyone to be able to come to Higgy-Con! I do have scholarships available to cover ticket costs for families that could use a little help. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a scholarship.
Join us for three days of fun, friendship and support. Scoliosis is so hard, but you are not alone! Meet scoliosis warriors from all over the world and build friendships that will last a lifetime. Higgy-Con will be an amazing experience that you will never forget!
Thank you so much to my good friends at Global Spine Outreach for making Higgy-Con possible for everyone! Click below to learn more about GSO and the amazing work they do!
Monday, July 17th- Wednesday, July 19th
Convention Hours: 8:00-5:00
Teen Night (Monday) 6:30-8:30
Kids Night (Tuesday) 6:30-8:30
AIr Zoo Party (Wednesday) 6:30-10:30
Please plan on being at Higgy-Con all three days if you are coming, as the activities will build upon each other for the kids. If you aren't able to make it all three days, please let me know.
$50 Per Person
Food and hotel not included.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites- Kalamazoo West- 1315 Westgate Dr- Kalamazoo, MI
Link to book rooms w/discount:
You can also use the promo code: HBC
You can use the link above, or call the hotel directly at 269-447-1700. You would need to mention it is for the Higgy Bear Conference.
John E. Fetzer Center
2251 Business Ct.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Wednesday Night Party Location:
Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum
6151 Portage Rd
Portage, MI 49002
Gerald R. Ford International Airport- Grand Rapids, MI.
Higgy-Con is going to be an absolute blast for the kids and teens, but it is for parents, too! I will have amazing speakers and workshops for you!
Dr. Samdani is a world-renowned surgeon coming to us from Shriners Children's in Philadelphia. Families travel from all over the world to meet with Dr. Samdani. I am so honored that he will be attending Higgy-Con!
After completing his fellowship, Amer Samdani, M.D., joined the staff at Shriners Children's Philadelphia in 2005. He specializes in the care of children with spine issues and is passionate about finding innovative ways to improve care. Fusionless strategies to treat children, such as vertebral body tethering, have been a major focus of his clinical work. He believes working at Shriners Children's is the ideal place to practice medicine as one gets to work with the best colleagues and patients without being hindered by a patient's ability to pay. Dr. Samdani says that the unique mission of Shriners Children's provides him a lot of job satisfaction and fulfillment.
Outside of clinical practice, Dr. Samdani is very active in research and education. He sits on the executive committee of the Harms Study Group and is a board member of the Pediatric Spine Study Group. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles and given over 100 invited lectures/Grand Rounds presentations.
Marissa is an expert physical therapist specializing in Schroth Therapy and Scoliosis Specific Exercise Programs.
She was one of the very first C2 level certified therapists in the US for the 3 dimensional treatment of scoliosis via the Barcelona Scoliosis Physiotherapy School.
Marissa not only treats the physical side of scoliosis, but the emotional side, as well. She empowers patients and their families and guides them through their scoliosis journey. She is a patient advocate and is constantly volunteering and helping families through this journey. She will be hosting workshops with parents in smaller groups that will allow you to share your stories and learn from one another's experiences.
Marissa is not only an expert in the field of scoliosis, but she is the absolutely kindest human being. She will be running the parent side of Higgy-Con while I attend to the kids/teens!
Megan is a bracing expert coming to us from Align Clinic in Texas. She is also the founder of Scolios-us, a web-based platform intended to empower patients with the tools and resources they need to be successful along their scoliosis journey.
She enjoys working with neuromuscular and orthopedic patients and has a particular passion for pediatric scoliosis patients. This passion drove her to study under Grant Wood during her residency and earn her WCR Brace certification.
While she loves dissecting scoliosis biomechanically, Megan equally enjoys coaching her patients through the bracing process. Her desire to revamp how healthcare practitioners approach the psychological side of scoliosis care ultimately led her to start Scolios-us, LLC. She founded Scolios-us in 2016 with two goals in mind: Helping scoliosis patients transition into bracing and helping clinicians nationwide address the emotional side of bracing.
Megan also works as an Instructor in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Department at Baylor College of Medicine.
Jonathan has over 20 years of expertise in Orthotics and Prosthetics, maintaining a primary focus on pediatric orthotics and specializing in the orthotic management of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Along with experience in patient care and clinic operations, he has held executive roles with major spinal brace manufacturers, running manufacturing/distribution, research and development, sales/ marketing, and business development.
In partnership with Children’s Hospital Boston, he led the development of specialized orthopedic devices from concept to introduction in patient care markets, including the prosecution of multiple patents, the design and execution of clinical trials, navigation through FDA and regulatory clearance, as well as all phases of product development, from design/ prototype to the manufacturing and distribution.
Jonathan’s clinical studies with surgeons from Children’s Hospital Boston and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, resulted in the co-authoring of prominent publications in the journal of “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”, and “Journal of Craniofacial Surgery”.
Adriaan earned his undergraduate, master’s degree and PhD in physiotherapy from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an adjunct faculty member at St. Ambrose University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, teaching pain science. Adriaan has taught throughout the US and internationally for 25 years at numerous national and international manual therapy, pain science and medical conferences. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles related to spinal disorders and pain science. Adriaan completed his Ph.D. on pain neuroscience education and is the Director of the Therapeutic Neuroscience Research Group – an independent collaborative initiative studying pain neuroscience. Adriaan is a senior faculty, pain science director and vice-president of faculty experience for Evidence in Motion.
Dr. Zebracki is an amazing child psychologist at Shriners Children's Chicago. She has so generously offered to come and speak to families at Higgy-Con! She will speak about how to help your children emotionally through this tough diagnosis and scoliosis journey.
Kristian specializes in the treatment of pediatric scoliosis and spinal conditions. Using Rigo Cheneau principles, he custom designs, fabricates, and fits patients with braces at National Scoliosis Center’s Fairfax and Baltimore offices.
He graduated with a Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO) from UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. As a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist, he worked in several pediatric centers, including Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kristian has expanded his scoliosis knowledge by participating in events and training led by the world’s leading scoliosis experts. He participated in the BUFA hands-on Cheneau-brace workshop taught by Dr. Manuel Rigo, multiple International Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) conferences, and the Scoliosis Research Society seminar. Currently, he is enrolled in the ISICO Master program which focuses on the principles and practice of scoliosis conservative treatment. He is also an active member of SOSORT.
Kristian also believes that educating others is an important piece of scoliosis patient care. To that end, he helps train our orthotist assistants, has been a guest instructor at the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics in Tampa, Florida, and spreads scoliosis awareness to parent groups like Moms In Motion.
Dr. Andromeda Stevens, D.C. became a Doctor of Chiropracic in LA, CA, and has been in pracice for over 25 years.
She became a D.C. because she was inspired by her own scoliosis conditon. Her practice specializes in scoliosis using the Schroth Method and is Level II certified by Dr. Hans R. Weiss (the grandson of Schroth) as one of very few certified in the US in the original method.
Andromeda was introduced to Pilates in the early ’90s and was so inspired that she became a Pilates Method Alliance Gold Certified Teacher™ (13657 PMA# OR 10112 NPCT#). The profound results with her patients, as well as the inability to find quality Pilates Instructors for the Studio, led her to co-found in 2000 with Kelli Altounian in Los Angeles, The Pilates Sports Center Pilates Teacher Training Program, the Burn at the Barre Teacher Training Program and the Pilates Master Teacher Program with the mission of providing the highest standard of excellence in Pilates education.
Tamie is a marriage and family therapist and outreach professional with a specialty in the treatment of eating disorders, addiction and trauma.
Tamie was diagnosed with AIS (adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) as a young adolescent and was treated conservatively with a brace. Tamie underwent a staged spine fusion surgery, as an adult, to repair her scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. Through her experience she has discovered the need to address the mental health needs of those with scoliosis and spine fusion surgeries.
Tamie utilizes her personal and professional experience to help others and advocate for change and offer support to others. Tamie is the first scoliosis and spine fusion patient appointed to a committee of SOSORT (The International Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment).
She will be discussing topics related to mental health, body image and scoliosis..
Caroline is a spinal fusion warrior and patient advocate. In Summer 2023 her book Tangled in the Curves: Real Life with Idiopathic Scoliosis will be available to support and guide Scoliosis Warriors and their families. It shares the emotions and experiences of life with scoliosis, with and without corrective surgery, through an honest and relatable voice. Through research and interviews with fellow Warriors, this resource aims to help anybody with scoliosis feel less lost, alone, or scared.
Caroline was diagnosed with AIS at age 15 and wore a Charleston brace before undergoing spinal fusion. Since that diagnosis, her scoliosis has impacted every aspect of her life. Throughout her journey she noticed a gap in education and support - both particularly important for a condition that stays with you for life. She is passionate about sharing information to make other Warriors' journeys easier.
She will be discussing the transition from teenaged AIS to adult AIS, including the role of education and support.
Lisa is the author of the newly released book “The Silver-Horned Girl”, a creative modern day fairy tale about a girl who wakes up one morning with a beeping silver horn growing out of her head. The silver horn represents Lisa’s Milwaukee brace she had to wear all through high school. Since her diagnosis in 1979, she has always wanted to provide support to other patients along with others who struggle with feeling different.
Lisa’s scoliosis journey included anxiety, insecurities & bullying. It was an experience that affected her life even after she graduated high school. Finding support & scoliosis resources during this time was definitely lacking but through therapy, research & having valuable tools to use every day, Lisa has been able to use her voice to help others not suffer in silence.
Lisa will be discussing the story behind the story of “The Silver-Horned Girl”, ways to support your mental health which includes the topic of bullying & valuable tools to use now & throughout your life.
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