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Helping Kids Become ‘Rising Stars’

First Lady’s program helps patients discover their potential and believe in their dreams

Shriners Hospitals for Children is committed to providing what we call wrap-around care: maintaining a family-centered approach and emphasizing our patients’ overall health and well-being.

This can mean different things for different patients. It can include finding ways to help them play with their friends, enhance their education, enjoy a hobby and live more independently.

It is customary for our First Lady, wife of the Imperial Potentate (or CEO) of Shriners International, the fraternity that founded and continues to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, to initiate a fundraising program. First Lady Alice Smith believes that giving our patients every possible advantage and opportunity to achieve helps them to become Rising Stars. Through her program of the same name, she is dedicated to helping kids have full, satisfying and productive lives.

Treating unique needs
To help each child who comes to Shriners Hospitals for Children become as independent as possible, we often introduce and provide assistive devices, especially through our various therapy programs. We provide our patients with physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy.

Assistive devices can range from items that help patients learn or regain the ability to walk, to computer-driven augmentations for those with speech difficulties, to items that help children learn to feed or dress themselves. Assistive devices also include mobility aids, such as crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. We can also customize the devices to fit the specific needs of individual patients. The Rising Stars fundraising program will support these efforts.

Integrating technology
We also use assistive technology in our therapy programs, through the availability of various systems such as body-weight-supported gait training and functional electrical stimulation bikes. We are also concerned with our patients’ quality of life and work to provide, or make them aware of, adaptive recreation opportunities and items that provide additional kid-friendly mobility, such as adaptive toy cars or bikes.

“We all want our children to be happy,” said First Lady Alice. “I want to help our patients move from the Shriners system to successful, independent adult lives.”

Women & Philanthropy
Now in its second year, Women & Philanthropy is another effort that benefits the First Lady’s program. Membership is open to all women. The only criteria are having a passion for helping others and a desire to improve the lives of children. Members recognize that by joining together, their gifts go further and can have a greater influence. All women who support the life-changing work of Shriners Hospitals for Children are invited to be part of this effort.

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