Shriners Hospitals Ambassador Katie Walker takes on the golf world, promoting the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
By Steve Brand, Los Angeles, CA – June 30, 2008 – As a Shriners Hospitals for Children ambassador, 19-year-old Katie Walker is truly an inspiration with her “can-do” approach to life. A passionate golfer, she helps put a face to the Shriners organization and their mission during the week-long Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
“Working with Justin Timberlake to promote the tournament is such an honor, a real dream come true,” says Walker.
A patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles since she was nearly a year old, Walker was born missing her left tibia, left kidney and faced other multiple congenital problems. She underwent her first set of surgeries to repair some of these problems when she was only weeks old.
As the focus turned to Walker’s orthopaedic challenge, a friend told the family about Shriners Hospitals for Children whose specialists determined that, in order to give her the best chance at walking, amputation of her left leg was necessary. Eight weeks post-surgery, she was fitted with the first of many prostheses through the hospital’s Child Amputee Prosthetic Project (CAPP).
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles has continued to provide the orthopaedic care and prosthetics Walker has needed while growing up, all at no charge.
“Shriners is my surrogate family,” she said. “I know I can count on them if I need anything.”
With an affinity for sports, she has taken on snow skiing, ice skating, horseback riding and bowling, in addition to competitive golf. Walker says that her self motivation comes from believing that anything is possible. “I may do things a little differently than others, but that does not keep me from experiencing life to the fullest,” states Walker.
In high school, Walker discovered a love of golf and made the varsity team freshman year. Staff at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital fitted her with a high-tech prosthetic that has a special torque-and-socket unit, allowing more range of motion in the hip and ankle, which consequently improved her golf swing.
During a high school tournament, Walker nailed a hole-in-one. Golf Digest magazine put the odds at any amateur accomplishing such a feat at 12,000-to-1.
Today, Walker is a sophomore in college, attending California State University Bakersfield on a golf scholarship. An outstanding athlete, Walker is also a talented singer who has performed since the age of 9.
In 2005, she recorded her first country music CD. Like so many other Shriners Hospitals patients, Walker has learned to approach life with a smile and enthusiasm, despite difficulties. Her confidence can be heard in her song, “Challenge Me,” which was inspired by life experiences.
Received Sept.24,2008 G-Wiz