In a facebook group I'm in we're doing an 11 week polish challenge. This is the first week and the challenge is to do a mani inspired by your favorite cause or charity.
I chose a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and my life, The Shriner's Hospital.
The Shriner's Hospital is a non-profit hospital for children with problems like orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and many other conditions. Any child is able to receive treatment regardless of their ability to pay.
Growing up I had always seen the Shriner's around. I saw them riding in their little cars in parades and I remember going to the Shrine circus every year. I never really knew what they were about until 2003.
My daughter, Alyvia, who will turn 8 years old next week, was born with club foot. Club foot is a deformity that completely turns the foot in to varying degrees, like she would be walking on her ankle if that makes sense. We didn't know about it until after she was born. Her pediatrician came to talk to me in the hospital the day after she was born and told us the diagnosis and before we were discharged she already had an appointment at the Shriner's Hospital in Shreveport, LA.
She was only 5 days old on her first appointment. We took her in, she had xrays and the doctor examined her thoroughly and they did her first manipulation casting. My husband went in the casting room with her the first time and I sat out in the hall and cried. I remember hearing her screaming while they were doing her casting. That is still one of the worst moments I've ever had as a mother and still makes me emotional. My baby was being hurt and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. But I'll never forget the nice man in the red hat coming to sit next to me while it was going on just to comfort me.
She went through the serial castings for about 3 1/2 months, they were changed every 2 to 3 weeks. At 4 months old she had a minor surgery that released the tendon in her heel. She wore a hard cast (it was hot pink ;) ) for 4 weeks and then she was put in a pair of shoes called a Dennis Brown bar. It was a pair of shoes that were held in place by a red bar. She wore that 23 hours a day until she was about 10 months old and then she only wore it at night until she was a year old.
We spent a pretty good bit of her first year of life at that hospital, it really felt like family. She still has "check ups" once a year but she is as perfect as can be thanks to the doctors and people that make the Shriners hospital possible.
All the children that go in and out the doors of that hospital get the best care possible...for FREE. The men in red hats walking around just being helpful, playing with the kids, being a shoulder to cry on for the parents. It's really an amazing place and I am so thankful that there is a place like that for children and families in need. I am so thankful for the Shriner's Hospital.