SHC Community

Make a Difference in the Lives of Children

One of the many ways to support the work of Shriners Hospitals for Children is through the unique effort known as the First Lady’s program

Lady Cheryl

First Lady Cheryl Sowder

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 to benefit our health care system.

Heroes among us

This year, First Lady Cheryl Sowder’s initiative, Heroes Among Us, is supporting the Patient Ambassador programs of Shriners Hospitals. A Patient Ambassador is a current or former patient who is an advocate for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Patient ambassadors donate their time to promote the health care system and their local facility, as well as the Shriners International fraternity. They volunteer at events, provide tours of their hospital or outpatient center – and  host fundraisers.

“Our patients are the true heroes of Shriners Hospitals for Children,” said Cheryl. “They give hope and inspiration to others and reinforce the message that Shriners Hospitals for Children provides life-changing care.”

Cheryl believes we need to acknowledge the incredible spirit and abilities of our patients and support their efforts to share their stories as Patient Ambassadors for the health care system.

“These children can tell the story of Shriners Hospitals better than anyone,” said Cheryl. “We are pleased to provide a program to support and enhance their efforts.”

Cheryl’s program will help the Patient Ambassadors of Shriners Hospitals for Children gain skills that will serve them throughout their lives, such as the public speaking experience they get while sharing stories of their life-changing care at Shriners Hospitals for Children. To learn how you can support this effort, please visit

Women & Philanthropy program

This year, Cheryl is also beginning a second program, Women & Philanthropy – Shriners Hospitals for Children, also for the benefit of the hospitals through the annual First Lady’s program. Membership is open to all women. The only criteria are having a passion and concern for others, and a heartfelt, strong desire to make the world a better place and improve the lives of children. Cheryl believes that women have an increasing ability to effect change through their leadership and philanthropic efforts. Members recognize that by combining gifts and donations, these 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.

TO LEARN MORE about this unique initiative, please visit