140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marksmen Shrine Club

Then, my brother told us to call the Shriners.

Zwambag: Behind the Fez

The Motherload

OCTOBER 29, 2015 08:27 AM

Years ago, when I was a staff reporter for Alaska Highway News, I wrote a story that always stuck with me. It was a story about a young boy with a disease that was slowly killing his hip joint and causing him debilitating pain, and about his family’s journey to find the help he so desperately needed. That journey took them to the Shriners Hospital in Portland. I helped to tell the story, but I didn’t get it.
How could I? I wasn’t a parent. I had no frustrations with our healthcare system. I didn’t know what it was like to want to help your child but not be able to. As much as that story really stuck out in my memory from my time at the paper, I’m ashamed to say that when the fun guys with the fez’ and the little go-carts passed us in the parade that year, I still had no idea what they did.
Those guys wearing the rockin’ red fez? They’re Shriners. And they are an amazing group of men who are helping families in big ways every day in our community. I wish I had paid more attention then so I could have found them sooner, so I really hope you all are paying attention so you know they’re there if you ever need them.
You see, they have this huge network of pediatric hospitals that specialize in orthopaedics, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, and burn care. They take patients in no matter their ability to pay; their only goal is to provide these kids with the care they deserve to live a happy and normal life.
Furthermore, these hospitals are second to none. They have some of the best medical professionals and researchers in the world. Just listening to other families we have travelled with talk about how the prosthetics provided by the hospital are one hundred times more comfortable and natural for their child than what they could have gotten locally, you know that this hospital gets it. These hospitals are the best because they genuinely want these kids to live their best lives.
I’ve spoken in this column about my son’s rather difficult pregnancy and birth, and the experiences that came with having a preemie. But I’ve never really spoken about the fact that he was born with an orthopaedic condition that left us feeling completely lost as parents.
When he was first born, it was quickly evident that something was up with his foot. Our doctor in the NICU told us that he was club-footed on one foot. We were referred to a specialist and told it was easily corrected at that age, and off we went. It quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be THAT easy.
As parents, you see your child daily. And you get to know them pretty well. By the time we were seeing this specialist, we had questions. Lots of questions. And we weren’t convinced the diagnosis was correct.
I have a memory of my first meeting with this specialist. He literally didn’t even look at my son’s leg and foot for three seconds. I remember this because I even asked him if he wanted to look again (to which he said no). He just said “clubfoot” and slapped a cast on him. There was no opportunity to ask questions, get clarity or find out about what happens next.
Three castings later, it was overcorrected. Two weeks later, it fully reverted and went back in to a cast. A couple weeks more, he had us in to fit my son for rigid shoes and a special brace that was essentially a giant skateboard. The real kicker? They didn’t even make these shoes for children this young. At this point, we said we were done and begged for a referral to a pediatric orthopaedic specialist in a bigger centre. By this time, we realized that our biggest problem wasn’t his foot. Rather, his leg wasn’t growing properly.
The doctor we saw next was more concerned about his head then his legs and ended our appointment by telling us we’d either start leg lengthening surgeries a few years down the road or we’d damage his growth plates when he was getting close to maturity to hope the smaller leg would catch up. I left that appointment with no answers, but a lot of fear.
We saw other doctors and got a hundred different answers and concerns, but no ways to actually help our son so he wouldn’t limp or have hip and back problems caused by a difference in leg length.
Then, my brother told us to call the Shriners.
Everything simply fell in to place. They booked us an appointment in Portland for three weeks later (the shortest wait we’d ever had to see a specialist). They booked us plane tickets and a hotel. They called and got all his medical records. All we had to do was show up.
The hospital? Beautiful. The staff? Amazing. The nurses and assistants? So great with kids and so compassionate. The doctor? The most knowledgeable person we’d spoken to, and she gave everything to us straight. We walked out of that hospital feeling so relieved, knowing everything was going to be okay.
We now go every year so they can monitor our son and provide him with whatever he needs, be it a brace, lifts for his shoes… anything. We know he still might face surgery, but the Shriners Hospital performs much less invasive surgery on children like our son than what he would have faced at a more local hospital.
So what do Shriners do? For families like ours, they give us everything we need. Medical care, travel assistance, and the most important thing of all: peace.
So if you don’t know about this amazing organization, I urge you to check out their site or chat them up when you see one of those fezzes out in the community. They’re an organization worth having on your radar, and a group of really great guys.
All I can say is… Thank you. 
 Brianne Zwambag is a full-time boo-boo healer, snack artist, janitor, referee, master storyteller and child stylist in Fort St. John, B.C. who sometimes gets a chance to sit down and write about life, mommyhood and the issues that surround it.

High-tech Prostheses

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--()--Children who need braces and artificial limbs are the beneficiaries of a new computer-aided design and manufacturing system at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California. The high-tech system consists of a camera, scanner, computer-modification software and a 3-Axis Carver, a machine that cuts prosthetic and orthotic molds from pre-sized cylindrical polyurethane foam. Installed in the hospital’s orthotics and prosthetics lab earlier this year, the advanced technology has made the process for making prostheses, braces and burn masks faster, more efficient, less invasive and more effective.
Children are the beneficiaries of advanced technology at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California.
Tweet this
“We no longer need to rely on plaster or fiberglass to make a prosthetic limb or brace for a patient,” says Dan Munoz, manager of the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. “Now, thanks to scanning technology, we use a hand-held camera and mouse to begin the molding process.”
Under the old system, prostheses and orthoses were molded by hand. To begin the process, a practitioner would make a plaster or fiberglass cast of the patient’s limb or face. Now, patients no longer always need casts made. Instead, Munoz or a colleague scans the patient’s body part with the camera, which instantaneously transmits a three-dimensional image to an adjacent computer screen. Then they modify the image on a computer, which can take as little as 10 minutes. The image is sent to the in-house Carver, which cuts a mold in minutes.
The Canadian firm Vorum installed the cutting-edge technology that was made possible by a $116,000 donation made to the Northern California Shriners Hospital by The Gately Foundation, which supports medical science, education and enrichment of the lives of children in Northern California.
The digitized system promotes collaboration among Shriners Hospitals, making it possible for the Sacramento hospital to fabricate devices for Shriners hospitals in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. It is allowing satellite centers to open, like a recent one at a Shriners hospital in Spokane, which has never had an in-house orthotics and prosthetics lab. Now staff can scan patients and digitally send the images to a Shriners Hospital lab with a Carver for fabrication.
The digitized system also allows POPS to keep an electronic record of every device they make, including about 3,000 devices a year. The comparative data provides information that may promote new research studies and improve patient care.
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California is one of five Shriners Hospitals nationwide with a Carver. Having a handful of fabrication centers, rather than many hospitals operating independently and making their own devices is a new business model Shriners recently adopted, says Munoz, manager of Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento.
The cost-saving model allows Shriners to serve more patients, give patients a more consistent experience, and reduce the number of days out-of-town families will have to spend in Sacramento.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is devoted to transforming the lives of children through excellence in treatment, teaching and research. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California provides care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause and other complex surgical needs. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. Care is provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For further information call (916) 453-2000 or go online towww.shrinerschildrens.org.


Shriners Hospitals for Children
Catherine Curran, 916-453-2218
Public Relations

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

“Why is a creepy clown a bad idea?”

By: Ron Jaffe

President, Fun World Clown Alley, Orlando, Florida

Halloween. It’s the time of the year when scary clowns are lurking everywhere.  As a variation of P.T. Barnum’s famous quote, “clowns are the pegs on which a circus is hung,” scary clowns are the pegs on which a haunted house is hung. They are frequent choices for costume parties, and unlike the other costumed characters, there is something about a scary clown that leaves lasting impressions on the public. Those impressions can dramatically and negatively affect those who rely upon their makeup and clowning to make a living, and they can also affect those who clown for humanitarian causes.
It doesn’t matter how talented a clown is with her craft or how exquisite her makeup and costume is or how friendly she is. It only takes one creepy-looking clown and bad experience, movie, or image to re-frame someone’s perspective about clowns, and those who have had those bad experiences don’t keep it to themselves. They reinforce their own bias against clowns by saying “I’m scared of clowns“ over and over, almost as if it’s become fashionable to do so.
In society today, people aren’t exposed to clowns frequently like they were in the first half of the 20th century to know how clowns ‘should’ act, so a single bad encounter could turn the person against clowns and clowning for life.   By the 1950s, the American circus was still a staple of American life, and clowns could be found on cereal boxes, bars of soap, shoe advertisements, soft drink labels, school textbooks, magazines and of course, on television.  But as the American circus began to fade with the proliferation of television and other forms of entertainment, so did our exposure to clowns, and two subsequent events would establish the image of scary clowns in our psyche forever.
In 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested for the murder of dozens of young people. Gacy was a clown and images of him in his costume were plastered in print and news media for years until his death in 1994.  In 1990, Stephen King’s “IT” came out in the theater and today, “Pennywise” the clown still haunts the memories of those who first saw the film 25 years ago.  But it’s been the subsequent and growing number of scary clown depictions that are making it so hard for traditional clowns to ply their trade today.
At a nursing home where I clown, the old folks who grew up with clowns appreciate the work we do as caring clowns. It’s actually the young CNAs and staff who are the ones who proclaim, “I’m scared of clowns,” and who literally freeze up when we come through even when wearing minimal makeup. This directly affects our ability to help people who are hurting when we have to tippy-toe around the staff, whom we are also there to help. Well-trained clowns in a hospital environment can greatly improve the mood of a patient and floor staff, but not if the patient and staff are fearful of what they feel clowns might represent.
Traditional clowns today, at least in the United States, are constantly exposed to those who proclaim a fear of clowns. But while “coulrophobia” exists, it’s actually quite rare.  For most, it’s merely a conditioned response to clowns that’s been developed and reinforced over time through imagery and repetitive internal and external  dialogue.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that when we speak against evil and scary clowns, we’re not making judgements about the people in costume, we’re only lamenting on the inevitable long-term affects that scary clowns can have on children and adults.

By: Ron Jaffe
President, Fun World Clown Alley, Orlando, Florida