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Sydney has held many titles in her lifetime – including Miss South Carolina Teen 2012 and 1st Runner-Up to Miss South Carolina 2017. However, it is perhaps her title of patient ambassador, and now Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville employee, of which she is most proud.

At age 7, Sydney was diagnosed with scoliosis and began treatment at the Greenville Shriners Hospital. In hopes of stopping her curve’s progression, she was prescribed a brace. Despite wearing the brace 12 hours a day, Sydney’s spine continued to curve. At 12 years old, surgeons recommended she have spinal fusion surgery.

“If I had not had the surgery, I would not be able to live a normal life,” Sydney said. “Later in life, I would have had respiratory problems because my body would be misshapen.”

Eleven years after her fusion surgery, Sydney says she feels great. “I am so glad I had the surgery, and I am proud of my scar. I know you can do anything and everything if you put your mind to it, and I want to share my story with children.”

Unable to put a price tag on the care she received, Sydney started volunteering at the hospital in high school. During that time, she said she found her passion for working with children with physical disabilities.

Meanwhile, with a straight back and newfound confidence, Sydney began competing in local beauty pageants. Earning over $25,000 in scholarships throughout the years as a Miss Contestant, Sydney also won Overall Lifestyle & Fitness both years competing. Tap dancing as her talent, she hoped she would encourage others to pursue any talent regardless of their limitations.

As a patient ambassador, Sydney says it was an easy decision to make the hospital her platform.

“The [Greenville] Shriners Hospital has done so much for me that I wanted to give back. I aspire to be the inspiration in people’s lives that helps them realize that they can achieve what may seem to be the impossible!” Sydney explained. “I also want every child with a physical disability to know they are worthy and valued.”

Sydney attended Clemson University, where she graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in nonprofit leadership. She was determined to use her degree to positively impact the lives of others.

“I was told if you have a job you are passionate about, you will never work a day in your life, and I knew I wanted a career working for the Greenville Shriners Hospital.”

Sydney says her dream came true when she was named marketing and communications specialist for the hospital.

“My journey has come full circle, and I am incredibly blessed for the countless ways this hospital has changed my life. At times, we wonder why things happen the way they do. I am proof that a negative situation can turn into a positive stepping stone that can change the trajectory of your life.”

Sydney says she is thankful for her scoliosis and for the lives that touched her heart to place her at the hospital. Without the Greenville Shriners Hospital, she says she would not be the woman she is today.

“I am excited for this journey as an employee and the opportunity to promote an organization driven to provide the best quality care for patients.”

Meet some of our other special patients.