By ESTHER AVILA
THE PORTERVILLE RECORDER
A free screening clinic offered by the Shriners on Saturday at Sierra View District Hospital left parents of children relieved to know that hope was in sight.
Such was the case for the Cisneros family, who came to the clinic to have their youngest child's feet evaluated — and ended up having two of their three children referred to Fresno for further studies.
“We brought our youngest daughter in because she is always falling. She falls when she walks and when she tries to run, she can’t,” said Carlos Cisneros. “We heard this group was going to be here, so that is why we came.”
Karla 2, sat quietly on her father’s lap as her parents removed her shoes and pointed to her feet.
“She was born with one foot turning in more than the other,” her mother Rosio Cisneros said. “It hurt me so bad to see her always falling. I knew it wasn’t right. I took her to the pediatrician and they said she will probably grow out of it and to give it some time and see if she would outgrow it.”
But Karla didn’t.
“It got worse. I didn’t know how to help her. Every time she fell, it just hurt me,” Rosio Cisneros said. “Then we saw a lady in the store with a child wearing braces. Her child had the same thing. She referred us to Dr. Marmolejo and when we went to see him, he told us about this clinic.”
What the parents also discovered was that their 6-year-old daughter Janila Cisneros also had the same foot problem.
“She was the first born, so we didn’t catch it when she was learning to walk,” Rosio Cisneros said. “I thought it was normal for her to fall so much. We’re happy our middle girl doesn’t need any treatment. Her feet appear to be fine.”
Podiatrist Ron Marmolejo was on hand Saturday to evaluate the Cisneros, and other children, for possible Shriner Hospital services.
“We usually get about seven or eight references out of the 20 or so children we will see today,” Marmolejo said. “We see anything from orthopedic problems to cerebral palsy, to [scars from] previous burns. And we send them off to see some world experts. The services are totally free. It is an amazing program. The State has some nice programs for kids but the problem is, the State is broke. What the Shriners do is amazing.”
Also on hand to help were a couple of translators, high school seniors Maria Lemus and Sue Ellen Bracamontes from the PHS Partnership Academy of Health.
A couple of Shriner clowns kept the children smiling and laughing by offering balloon animals and other silly entertainment.
Six clinics are held every year, three in the spring, and three in the fall, said Shriner Walt Kasabian, who has spearheaded the clinic since it’s incept at the hospital six years ago.
“We have them in Merced, Madera, Fresno, Visalia, Corcoran and Porterville,” Kasabian said. “We’ve actually had them since 1988 when the Noon Time Rotary Club had the screenings at the fairgrounds. But for the past six years, we’ve taken them over and have had them here at the hospital and Dr. Marmolejo has been faithful and volunteered at every since one.”
Kasabian said the Shriners talked to school nurses and placed flyers around town for referrals, and Shriner Roy Pond talked about their Sacramento facility, where children who need surgery are sent.
“It is a seven-story, state-of-the-art hospital,” Pond said. “It is an amazing research center. We have a Ronald McDonald House where families can stay up to a week while their child is recovering from surgery. We also help the family with gasoline money. There is no cost to the families whatsoever.”
The hospital network comprises 18 orthopedic hospitals, three burn hospitals and one hospital that provides orthopedic, burn and spinal cord injury treatment.
For more information, call Roy Pond, 784-3000; Dick Scearcy, 784-7656; Don Farquharson, 784-8682; or the Tehran Shrine Temple, 251-1991.
-- Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1047, or firstname.lastname@example.org