A HOLIDAY LETTER FROM NOBLE JOE ALVARADO
We sometimes forget who we are, where we come from, and what we do. We know there are two sides to the Las Vegas Shriners and our wonderful families – the fun side with funny hats, tassels, clowns making balloon animals and driving tiny cars in parades – and the serious side which helps children with complicated orthopedic or plastic surgery needs. Our primary mission is and always has been to become the best at transforming children’s lives by providing exceptional world class healthcare to children within a very compassionate, family-centered care environment; provide for the education of healthcare professionals; and conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and families. This mission is without regard to race, color, creed, sex, disability, origin or ability to pay. Few Las Vegans realize that our Zelzah Shrine Temple and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Los Angeles sponsors several outreach clinics for children. Doctors and staff from the Shriners Hospital for Children Los Angeles travel to Las Vegas to apply world class medical treatment to our communities children. In addition to the clinics, hundreds of children are seen via teleconferencing sessions. You can put a group of ten people together anywhere in the United States and someone has been touched or helped by the Shriners. Presently we have over 400 little souls on our medical care rolls. We don't treat sick people, we fix young lives.
I am proud to remind my Brothers of the good we do and why we should look at each child treated as a personal triumph. Katie is a special one of those to me. We heard about Katie from a Brother Noble who met her family at a church. Katie was about 11 or twelve , Her illness was extremely severe Scoliosis. The original diagnosis was that her body was twisted to 90 degrees. It later turned out to be more than 100 degrees. She could not participate in sports, and as the illness worsened, she was limited in many of the normal functions of everyday life due to the compression on her ribs on her lungs. Katie describes how she was bullied and how the Jocks at her school would hit her on the Hump for luck before a game.
We found that this young lady had a great amount of courage and a strong will to get better. Our Temple sent Katie and her mother to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Los Angeles. And after looking her over they sent her and her mother to Shriners Hospitals’ for Children Sacramento. Katie received treatment and surgery and post-operative care. , this amazing young lady walked into a room where we had assembled, straight as an Arrow, and told her story of the Life changing metamorphosis that had resulted from our Shrine’s small part in this wonderful process.
I now have a lifetime friend who after the operation and her recovery who entrusted me with the fact that a boy had asked her on her first date, and then even more important that someone had asked her to her first dance. My own life took on a change and a feeling of privilege that only comes when someone opens a small window into her little life. We now go to visit schools to talk about the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and she tells her story to amazed crowds. I swell with pride at the amazing person she has become. This young lady, only one of the more than 80,000 children our clinic has seen over its many years, has her own website and has been responsible for motivating other young individuals with the same illness who are hesitant, to proceed with their own operations.
My story is not unique. it is repeated to each of us as Nobles at special times in our Life as nobles. At this time of year, especially, we are reminded what it means to know that life changing privilege of the title Noble as we proudly labor in this Craft we so love. The work we do and the part that each of us plays, from techs, to drivers, to clowns, is a privilege that leads to a fuller life. As we begin a New Year, we need to strive tell more people - "We are your neighbors - a part of you – let us help.”
Wishing you Best Christmas and New Year