Special to the Minden Press-Herald
Rotarian Jennifer Martin had Springhill Rotarians’ full attention as she told about a baby boy who was born without a right leg. His parents were devastated and scared. They turned to Shriners Hospital in Shreveport for comfort. They soon knew they were in good hands. Their spunky son, now five years old, is breaking in his sixth “bionic leg.” He runs and plays like any other boy his age. The prosthetic and orthotic team at Shriners works to make sure that his leg can withstand any activities he gets into.
Martin, of Shreveport, gave the Rotarians a wide-ranging briefing on the Shriners Hospital of Shreveport. She thanked Masons and Shriners for making healing possible, free of charge, for hundred of thousands of children and teenagers worldwide.
She recalled the background of Shreveport’s Shriners hospital. In 1921, Shriners International determined to create a facility to treat youths suffering with orthopedic ailments. Shreveport businessman and Shriner James Rowland led fellow Shriners to come up with a bold plan to bring the first Shriners hospital to Shreveport. They acquired land, funds, and a qualified orthopedic surgeon. The Shreveport plan was approved at a meeting in Atlanta, GA. In September, 1922, the first of an unprecedented pediatric healthcare effort opened in Shreveport. The Shriners Hospitals for Children system soon expanded into twenty-two hospitals in the United States, Canada, Mexico and worldwide.
Shriners provides vital medical care for children regardless of a family’s ability to pay. If insurance is available it is accepted. The Shreveport facility operated with a budget of $20,000,000 in 2018. Half of this came from insurance reimbursements. The rest came from generous donors and fundraising efforts. Eighty-seven percent of Shriners Hospitals’ income goes to patient care. 4,563 new patients were treated in Shreveport’s Shriners Hospital in 2018. A total of 18,014 got essential medical care. In 2019 the number of people being treated is up nineteen percent.
Martin mentioned that Shriners have expanded their mission of helping children. She listed conditions that are normally treated at the hospitals. The include: scoliosis and spine disorders; cerebral palsy and spina bifida; hip, hand and foot problems; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; limb discrepancies; cleft palates, bone grafts and other life-changing procedures. Sports medicine conditions are also treated at Shriners facilities. Their care includes a wide range of services, including nutrition, under one roof to help, “Our kids get better, faster.” They even do outreach clinics and telehealth to bring expert care to patients where they live.
She encouraged the Rotarians to send persons needing care to Shriners for evaluation. She asked them to phone 1 800 830 0606, or 1 318 226 3314 to get started.
The public can get involved by donating to Shriners Hospitals. Their address is 3100 Samford Ave., Shreveport 71103.
For other information about supporting Shriners vital work call 1 318 226 4272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.