At a time when most teenage girls are preoccupied with fashion and having perfect figures this was the deformed figure of 14-year-old Sami Petersen.
"Some of the questions... people would just be like 'what's wrong with you,'" says Sami.
Sami was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, at age 11. For a while, she says, she could hide her hump under baggy clothes but at an age when most kids are just embarrassed to have braces on their teeth Sami grew so disfigured she had to wear a full body brace 24 hours a day.
"People would treat me a little different like I was sick when I didn't want
to be treated any different than anyone else my age," says Sami.
Through it all, Sami's mom Jeannie Peterson, says her daughter stood tall even though the condition was both physically and emotionally crippling.
"Scoliosis isn't just somebody with a crooked back it affects their whole life, who they are and how they see themselves and what they can do," says Jennie Peterson.Once one of the best swimmers in the state, Sami couldn't even get in a pool but that wasn't the worst of it.
"Just doing the daily activities that everybody takes for granted... like picking something up off the floor or laughing or giving my family a hug became a struggle," says Sami.
Finally, having exhausted all other options and therapies, Sami underwent a lengthy surgery last month and now that she's been set straight and is well on the road to recovery. This courageous teen with a constant smile is setting the world straight about scoliosis.
Sami created an inspiring video about her journey, making no apologies for her before pictures, even looking proud as a peacock in her brace while visiting the NBC studios in New York. Since posting it to YouTube two weeks ago she's been hearing from people from all over the world.
"I have had people from Peru, I had somebody that spoke a different language type to me, I had to translate back and forth with them," says Sami.
One month after surgery Sami is well on the road to recovery, once again laughing, hugging and showing the world how to respond when life throws you a curve.Scoliosis most often occurs during the growth spurt just before puberty.
While the disease can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.(Courtesy NBC News)