We invite you to share your experience with Shriner’s Hospital for Children – Greenville. We pride ourselves on delivering top quality care to children with orthopedic conditions.
Whether you are a patient or family member who has experienced our care, a dedicated staff member, volunteer, or a devoted Shriner, we want to hear from you!
To submit your own story, click here.
When you first meet ten-year-old Marina Hooker you see a spunky, personable, and athletic little girl. You would never guess this little girl suffers with pain in her joints every day of her life. At age three, Marina was diagnosed at Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, to help control her pain, Marina must endure having a shot each week. But, Marina doesn’t let her arthritis hold her back. She is an accomplished horseback rider who loves barrel racing.
Marina has been a patient ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville for more than three years. Marina’s thank you note to Shriners says it all: “Please tell all the Shriners that I said thank you for everything that the Shriners do. Also, tell them thank you for doing the fund raisers. Thank you for the Shriners Hospital and all they have done for me and all the other kids. I don’t know how to say exactly what I want to but I LOVE YOU. My hands hurt while I am doing this but I know the Shriners will make it all better. Love you, Marina Hooker”
Watching your child take their first steps is exhilarating. You are so proud of your child’s accomplishment. Sometimes parents must wait years for their child to achieve that huge milestone. Stephanie Sessions took her first steps at seven years old.
Stephanie and her twin sister Kristen were born premature at 31 weeks. After birth Stephanie suffered a brain bleed which led to Cerebral Palsy. The Cerebral Palsy caused her right arm and both legs to be very weak and she could not stand up straight. Stephanie’s parents wanted the best care for their daughter so they brought her to Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Greenville. Doctors decided the best course of treatment to get Stephanie up and walking would be surgery. To help her stand up straight and have better leg control doctors loosened Stephanie’s hamstrings and lengthened her heel cord. Several weeks later in the physical therapy room at Shriners Hosptials for Children — Greenville, Stephanie stood perfectly straight for the first time and took her first steps. As her mother watched tears filled her eyes because she knew those first steps were opening up a whole new world for her daughter.
Today, Stephanie is thriving. She loves walking, playing basketball, horseback riding, and doing aerobics. Her family thanks the doctors at the Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville for helping Stephanie defy the odds.
At just eleven years old, Arianna Loucks has already raised more than $2,800 for Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Greenville. Arianna, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, began coming to the hospital after being referred by her doctor. She says her feet were turned in and she kept tripping. Arianna had surgery on her legs and was up and walking with her legs straight not long after. Wanting to give back to the hospital for helping her, Arianna began making beaded bracelets, necklaces, and anklets to sell. She donates all money raised to the hospital. Arianna says once she comes up with an idea and a pattern it takes her about 30 minutes to make each bracelet. Her goal is to raise at least $5,000 for the hospital. You can visit Arianna’s donor page here.
As he jumps high and flies through the air to knock the soccer ball back into play you would never know the goalie is playing with a prosthetic leg. At one year old, Keaghan Artabazon’s family made the tough decision to have his leg amputated below the knee. When he was born, Keaghan’s right leg had not developed completely. It may have taken him a little longer and a few more falls, but he has learned to do everything from walk, run, ride a bike, skateboard, and play his favorite sports. Now, the fourteen year old high school freshman says he wouldn’t have it any other way. Even if it is the only way he has ever known. Keaghan’s parents say they are very proud of him for never letting his leg hold him back.
This past year Keaghan was excited to learn he made the defensive line of the JV Amelia County Raiders football team. The excitement only multiplied as the Raiders went on to claim the 2008 JV James River District championship.
Keaghan’s advice for anyone who may have obstacles to overcome: You can do anything you want, as long as you take the time to learn which way you can do it.
Just two days after his most recent surgery, Jordan Denton could be found sitting up in his bed at Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville, smiling, playing the keyboard, and singing his heart out. Jordan doesn’t seem to be fazed by the large ice packs balancing on the tops of the casts on his legs or the large group of nurses and hospital staff that are gathering inside his room to hear the performance. The 19 year old blues and gospel singer is used to performing for large groups of people. Jordan spends much of his free time performing at nursing homes, churches, or for anyone who will stop and listen.
Doctors at Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville have been treating Jordan for several years for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). CMT disease is an inherited neurological disorder that affects both sensory and motor nerves. Jordan, like most other people with CMT, has weakness of the foot and lower leg muscles. For the weakness Jordan has had several surgeries at Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Greenville. While recovering from one of his previous surgeries, Jordan began writing down his thoughts and creating his own songs. Since then, he has penned nearly 30 original songs. Jordan’s advice for others going through a difficult time, “find something you love to do and pass the time away.”
I have an intriguing story to tell about my life and all of its experiences. Some people cry and some people love hearing it over and over. My story is most unique; I have a Brachial Plexus injury. I have no use of my right upper body. My arm is elevated at a ninety degree angle at all times and I have no feeling except for the phantom pain that is constant in my fingers. I was also found to be legally blind in my right eye five months later. This is only the small picture; I look at the statistics the doctors gave me: had I been half an inch closer to the air bag, I would have been paralyzed from the neck down. An inch closer would have left me dead.
I do not look at these disabilities sulking in pity; instead, I look at the inch from death and think that I am meant to be alive. I have no reason to sulk. At the age of nine, when this happened, I was a kid who quickly grew up, but this did not stop me from doing everything else that every kid does. Playing soccer, basketball, tennis, joining boy scouts, trying to climb that jungle gym. All of these things only gave me ideas of new ways that I could better myself and compete with my friends. I had to work harder and push myself to do things which other people frequently take for granted. I took the common serve and added a twist to it so that I could still enjoy all of the same things that every other kid was enjoying. This gave me the reasoning to see myself as something other than handicapped, which is why I often do not take “no” as an answer. Life constantly hurls unexpected obstacles in our direction, but if we spend our time anticipating and worrying about them, we will not be able to enjoy the opportunities presented.
Nine years later, life is still different from that of an average seventeen year old. I am in and out of hospitals, always hearing of new, encouraging technologies that I can employ to help myself. My love for soccer has led to a passion for coaching, which I have done for four years now. I have lettered four years with my high school varsity soccer team, which won my school’s first conference title this year. I am still undecided about what I want to do with my life, but I do know that I would like to share my story of perseverance with people who are disheartened by their handicap.
These obstacles will affect me throughout my entire life. They are always in the back of my mind but I choose not to dwell on the thoughts. What I’ve found, however, is that at the end of the day, I’m forced to look into the mirror and accept myself for who I am, I understand that I couldn’t have asked for a better life. My disability has given me a different view of life and opportunities, refusing to back down from challenges and face them with a smile.
When you first meet Lezlee Selena Gonzales you immediately notice her smile. It is very soft, the edges of her mouth just slightly curling upwards, but it lights up the room. At just four years old, the beauty pageant competitor has won trophies almost as big as she. Her most recent title is “Little Miss Fort Mill Sweetheart 2008.” What makes her win so unique is Lezlee chose not to wear her prosthetic arm during the competition.
When Lezlee was born, she did not have a complete left arm and was missing her hand. The arm ends at her wrist. Four years ago, Lezlee began coming to the Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Greenville. During her first appointment she was fit for a cosmetic prosthetic hand. Lezlee would wear the prosthesis a few times each week, mainly when she met new people or was around other children. As she grew, Lezlee wanted to be able to hold onto two dolls when she was playing with her prosthetic hand. During her next appointment at the hospital, Lezlee was fit for a new prosthesis which allows her to move the hand and pick up objects.
Even though she loves using her new hand, Lezlee feels most comfortable competing in beauty pageants without her prosthesis. In the Little Miss Fort Mill Sweet Heart pageant, Lezlee also won the title “Most Photogenic.” Lezlee Selena Gonzales is “picture perfect” and defying the odds.
When I was 5 years old til I was 12 years old I was in and out of Shriners Hospital as a patient because I was born with one leg longer than the other & it was very difficult for me to walk properly. Even though I experienced a difficult childhood, I wasn’t able to interact with other kids during sports or any extracurriculum activities at school or home, other kids laughed at me because of the way I walked. I would like to thanks Shriners Hospital for everything they did for me when I was a child because the doctors there really helped me a lot. I went through 5 surgerys and I missed out on a lot in my childhood but it was worth it. I had one surgery on the left foot 1st, the right foot 2nd, 3rd I then I had a surgery on my right knee, 4th I had surgery on the right side of my hip and the 5th was on my left knee. The doctors basically stopped the growth in the longer leg so the shorter leg could catch up. When the shorter leg caught up with the longer leg they stopped that one from growing too. I’m 5’3″ everybody expected me to be taller. Whenever I was in the hospital I had my school assignments so I wouldn’t be behind, there was a school in the hospital for kids education the teachers were awesome and very helpful. Now I’m 29 years old and I think about how Shriners Hospital helped me all the time sometimes I get emotional and cry. Whenever I see a Shriner looking for donations I always give money and a hug and I always cry when I see one. ONCE AGAIN I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU TO SHRINERS HOSPITAL IN GREENVILLE SOUTH CAROLINA FOR EVERYTHING FOR THE LOVE, SUPPORT, and CARING DOCTORS AND NURSES.
My parents and I were referred to the Shriner’s Hospital-Greenville when I was 5 years old. I was born with a club foot and a hand abnormality, in which my hand was underdeveloped and my thumb was attached to the palm of my hand at birth. By the time I reached the Shriner’s, I had already had 6 surgeries to correct my foot and hand, with more to come later. At just three years old, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. I would need more specialized treatment but my parents could not afford it. Someone told my parents about the Shriners and luckily, we were accepted for care. During one of the first couple of visits after having an MRI, the vigilant doctors at the Shriners discovered that my spinal cord never closed off a birth and thus, cerebospinal fluid was gathering on my spine. I would need surgery immediately to avoid paralysis. Unfortunately, the Shriners’ hospital did not perform this delicate surgery so they quickly referred me to Greenville Memorial Hospital. Just a couple of days later, a shunt was placed in my neck.
My scoliosis started to worsen as I grew older. In addition to the brace I had to wear for my club foot, I had to start wearing back braces for my scoliosis. After 3 years, the curvature was too great and still progressing. I would need to have surgery, in which 2 rods would be fused to my spine with hooks. To say I was afraid was an understatement, but the staff and doctors at the Shriners calmed my fears. They were also wonderful in helping me to laugh and did a great job explaining everything to me and my family.
A few years later, when I was 16, I had my final surgery at the Shriners which was on my clubfoot.
Thanks to the Shriners, I am now a healthy 30-year-old woman. I have successfully completed college and obtained 2 Master of Science degrees. I am a part-time college instructor and also recently returned to college to pursue a full-time career in teaching. My goal is to teach high school English once I have completed the post-baccalaureate teaching program for a teaching license.
I am proud to say that I was a Shriners’ patient. Without their care, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I am forever grateful.