8-year-old Montrealer with scoliosis the new ambassador for Caring for Kids Radiothon


Emma Corbett rarely misses a beat.

The 8-year-old Montrealer loves dancing and gymnastics. Even though she lives with pain, she’s full of energy.

Emma was born with a rare, severe form of scoliosis, a condition that causes a curve in the spine.

Now, she’s channelling her energy to help other sick children by serving as this year’s ambassador for the Caring For Kids Radiothon.

The campaign raises millions of dollars for young patients at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. It will be live Aug. 25 on CJAD 800, Virgin Radio 95.9, Chom 97.7 and TSN 690.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neil Saran first met Emma when she was just a baby.

8-year-old Emma Corbett, who has a rare form of scoliosis, is the new ambassador for the Caring For Kids Radiothon. (CTV News / Touria Izri)

“Emma’s case is very unique, mainly because she was multiple levels along the spine that never formed,” Saran explained.

Her deviation is one of the most severe the doctor has ever seen and has consulted with experts around the world for advice.

The shape of Emma’s spine puts pressure on her lungs, causing respiratory issues. She’s required to take daily medication and uses a sleep apnea machine at night.


Emma’s mother, Cari Friedman Corbett, says the Caring For Kids platform is empowering to her daughter.

“I want her to walk out the front door and say, ‘yes she is different, she does look different,’ but [she’s] still giving back and raising money for kids who are even sicker than she is,” said Friedman Corbett. “It’s an amazing life lesson.”

While she is excited to take part in the fundraiser, Emma is most looking forward to starting Grade 3 after more than two years of remote learning. Her family decided to have her study from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because she’s immunocompromised.

But this school year, Emma will be attending in person.

“I’m really excited about that,” Emma said.

Emma Corbett, the new ambassador for the Caring For Kids Radiothon, is picture with her parents, Cari Friedman Corbett and Darren Corbett. (CTV News / Touria Izri)

Surgery to correct Emma’s spine is too risky, but Dr. Saran says her body is adapting.

“Her scoliosis is not progressing as rapidly as it was earlier. And her lungs are still functioning fairly well,” he said.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching her grow and do a lot of the things other kids do.”

Emma’s progress gives her mother hope. Friedman Corbett said she celebrates the small victories and tries to take each day as it comes.

“I’m confident things are going in a positive direction, even though I’m taught you can’t plan,” she said. “I do not know what the future is going to be.”



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