Community Conversations

Community Conversations Spring 2022

Avery, 5

A letter from Mel Bower, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Shriners Children’s

Dear Readers, 

It’s spring, always a refreshing time of year, full of hope and promise. While we continue to struggle with the pandemic, describing this season so positively might seem to be a bit of a stretch – but it isn’t.

Our Shriners Children’s locations continue to be places of hope, where dreams are achieved and lives are changed every day. Our researchers continue to work patiently and diligently to discover new knowledge that will lead to greater understanding and improved treatments. 

Mel Bower

We love to celebrate our patients’ successes – and we will do that on a much larger scale this year. The year 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of our health care system, which began in 1922 in Shreveport, Louisiana, as a single hospital opened primarily in response to the polio epidemic, offering care regardless of the ability to pay. Shriners Children’s has grown to include locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is respected worldwide. Our patients continue to achieve personal successes – from achieving specific goals, to becoming more independent, to gaining confidence. And all care and services are still provided regardless of families’ ability to pay or insurance status. I’d say that’s a history well worth celebrating! 

This year is also the 150th anniversary of Shriners International, the fraternity that founded and continues to support our amazing health care system. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those visionary, generous gentlemen who cared enough – and hoped enough – to create a health care system that has made a difference in the lives of more than 1.5 million children – so far.

As you read this issue, full of stories of success, commitment and innovation, you may see a thread of hope connecting all of us, today and for another 100 years. 

Mel Bower 
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer 
Shriners Children’s


Avery, 5, was burned in a car accident last year. When she arrived at Shriners Children’s Ohio, she couldn’t walk or sit up. After just a month of treatment, she was sitting up and even worked up to a jog! Her amazing courage and hard work have earned her many followers on Shriners Children’s social media pages, with lots of fans cheering her on. 

One of those fans, Leah, the 5-year-old daughter of a Shriner in Newfoundland, Canada, saw some of Avery’s posts. She was inspired to send her a card, which included a note, a picture of herself, a drawing she made and even a small donation. Leah and her brother hand-delivered the card to the post office to send to Avery in the U.S.

Watch a video of Avery reading the card here: