On May 15, Shriners Hospital’s 90th Hospital Day will be held at the Richmond Road building for the last time. It will be surreal for me to show my own children around a place where I spent so many weeks of my childhood healing.
I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones). Given the nature of this disability, some people emerge from a childhood of medical procedures with an aversion to hospitals. Thanks to Shriners, I view hospitals as a place to cultivate growth. My body — literally straightened by Shriners — set American records in swimming at the 2004 Paralympic Games, and I now enjoy a successful career. I also credit Shriners with contributing to my greatest gift of all — the privilege to be a mother.
My memories of Shriners do include pain, but Shriners and its staff did far more than just help me heal. Everyone there cared about my growth as a whole person.
On reflection, I’m amazed at Shriners’ forward-thinking, family-centered, empowering approach. I know Shriners’ impact will continue. I am saddened that future children won’t feel that exact sense of comfort I always did when I passed through those front doors.
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Healing children is an investment in our future, and I will forever be grateful to Shriners for investing in mine.
University of Cincinnati
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities