Meet our Patient Champions

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tarting in 2007, several Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) patients offered to help represent the many bright faces treated at the hospital by becoming a patient champion. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Meet the 2011 Patient Champions!

Natalie of Coppell

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) patient Natalie, age 17 of Coppell, has been a patient at TSRHC since she was 3 weeks old. Born missing her left hand, Natalie has proven that anything is possible with the right attitude and help from the physicians in the hospital’s Charles E. Seay, Jr. Hand Center. A junior at New Tech High at Coppell and Head Captain for the colorguard, Natalie uses a fingerless glove—fabricated in the hospital’s prosthetics department—that she wears over her left arm to grip the flag during a performance. This year, she shared her talents with fellow hand patients at TSRHC where she performed a duet with a close friend and fellow colorguard member. For Natalie, who recalls learning to tie her shoes at TSRHC, the hospital has been a place for her to flourish as she grew from a child into a young adult. For the past four years, Natalie has been a regular at a camp offered to TSRHC patients with hand differences. Natalie is a wonderful example to her peers and fellow patients alike.

Garrett of Lake Highlands

Garrett, age 8 of Lake Highlands in Dallas, has been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) since 2006. After a minor surgery at TSRHC in 2010 to lengthen both of his Achilles tendons, Garrett is now able to walk heel-toe and has a new-found love for running and sports. Garrett’s warm and energetic personality is inspiring, and he recently represented the hospital in a  hospital fundraising promotion with fellow TSRHC patients and local executives in the service industry. Garrett has a unique tie to the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon as his mom and dad are both avid Dallas marathoners. Garrett enjoys the outdoors, riding his bike, playing the piano, swimming and learning new facts. He is involved with Cub Scouts, YMCA Baseball and missions  with his church, such as World Hunger Relief, Genesis Women’s Shelter and serving water to runners in the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon.

Matthew of San Antonio

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) patient Matthew, age 18 of San Antonio, Texas, has triumphed over adversity in his young life. As a result of cancer at age 14 in 2007, Matthew underwent an amputation on his right leg and has not looked back since. Referred to TSRHC for ongoing follow up after his surgery, he wears a prosthesis that was fabricated in TSRHC’s prosthetics department. A cross country athlete for his high school, Matthew competes regularly. This summer, Matthew was the only high school student spotlighted in Runner’s World magazine for his accomplishments as an athlete and for being an inspiration to others. In Matthew’s words, “…I am able to do what I still love to do…even though I have a prosthetic leg…don’t give up, and if you have a disability don’t make it a disability because that disability only goes as far as you make it go.”

Maya of Austin

Nine-year-old Maya of Austin, Texas, has not let a condition affecting both of her hips, known as Legg-Calve-Perthes, slow her down. Maya became a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) in April 2009. After Maya developed a limp and complained of severe pain in her hips, she was referred to TSRHC. Perthes is a childhood hip disorder where the ball of the thighbone in the hip doesn’t get enough blood, causing the bone to deteriorate. For Maya, it was so severe in one hip that it caused her leg to be an inch and a half shorter than the other. In December 2010, physicians at TSRHC decided to operate. Today, after her recovery from surgery, Maya is the starting goalkeeper on her soccer team, the aptly-named Tenacious Tigers. “A normal, happy little girl,” as her mom puts it, “Maya has adapted well thanks to the care she has received at TSRHC.”

Eryk of DeSoto

A charismatic and poised young man, Eryk , age 13 of DeSoto, Texas, near Dallas, has been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) since he was 3 months old. Born missing an ankle bone in his right leg, which caused his foot to point down, Eryk is treated at the hospital for a limb length discrepancy. In 2005, he had surgery to help lengthen his leg and wore an external frame that the hospital patented, called the TRUE/LOK™, from June to September. An eighth grader at Hampton Preparatory School in Dallas, Eryk hopes to become a lawyer when he is older. He loves to draw and his favorite class in school is PE. He is extremely athletic and enjoys football, basketball and baseball.

Meet Our Former Patient Champions

Aaron of Fort Worth – 2007 Aaron is treated in the hospital’s prosthetics clinic. Aaron wears a prosthesis on his left leg and has been treated at the hospital since 2005. In high school, Aaron played varsity football, was co-captain of his wrestling team and a member of his school’s varsity track team. He enjoys giving to others through community service activities.

Addison of Rockwall – 2009 TSRHC patient Addison of Rockwall, Texas, is sure to tug at the heart strings of all she meets. She has been a patient since she was 5 days old. As a result of a rare genetic disorder that causes her to have multiple dislocations, Addison has been treated for conditions including hand and knee dislocations, clubfoot and hip dysplasia, or dislocated hip. Since her first visit, she has had approximately 30 casts and three surgeries. Despite the challenges, Addison is able to pull herself up using furniture at home, walk with her walker and play with her older sister, Macie. Addison serves as a role model for Macie, who in a class project wrote about wanting to become an orthopedic surgeon so she could help others like TSRHC has helped Addison.

Brandalyn of Crowley – 2008 Brandalyn has been a patient at TSRHC since she was 8 weeks old. Born with a fractured collar bone, Brandalyn is treated for a condition called brachial plexus palsy, which is damage to the nerves that send signals to the spinal cord and control the shoulder, arm and hand. She always has a bright smile on her face and enjoys TSRHC’s play areas, the friendly staff and the TSRHC popcorn popped fresh daily. Brandalyn loves making new friends and is a member of the youth choir at her church.

Claire of Austin – 2008 Claire receives treatment for hip dysplasia, an abnormal hip socket formation, but does not let her condition interfere with swimming, one of her favorite activities. Claire also enjoys collecting rocks and stuffed animals. Claire inspires others with her determination and confidence to be the best she can be in every aspect of her life. Claire’s thoughts on being selected as a patient champion can be summed up in her own words, “I’m excited to be a patient champion because it makes me feel special and happy, and it lets me share how much I enjoy being at the hospital.”

Diarra of Allen – 2010 Diarra of Allen, Texas has been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children since June 2005. She receives treatment at the hospital for idiopathic scoliosis—curvature of the spine—and had surgery at TSRHC to correct her curve in October of that same year. Diarra is a senior at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she is highly active in dance. She is also involved in Girl Scouts, lacrosse and her school’s yearbook and communications committees and participated in the summer Junior Volunteer program at TSRHC. Diarra has loved her experience at TSRHC, and the doctors and staff have inspired her to one day fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.

Dominic of Natalia – 2009 TSRHC patient Dominic of Natalia, Texas, (near San Antonio, Texas) is treated in the hospital’s Charles E. Seay, Jr. Hand Center for polysyndactyly, a complex condition in which a child’s fingers or toes do not fully separate during development. He had his first surgery at 10 months old, when TSRHC physicians separated his fused fingers. In January 2009, a surgery on his left foot helped him to be able to wear sandals. Dominic’s father describes him as a typical 4-year-old who loves being on the computer and “getting his hands in things.” He enjoys the alphabet game, doing puzzles and is a loyal San Antonio Spurs fan. His true passion, according to his Dad, is cars. He says, “Dominic can name every make on the road right now.”

Elisa of El Paso – 2008 Elisa is treated at the hospital for systemic sclerosis, a rare chronic disease affecting the connective tissues of the skin or other organs. Elisa is excited to be a patient champion this year to inform more people about her condition and the help that she received at TSRHC. Elisa likes to spend her spare time drawing and sewing. Elisa’s family and friends consider her to be a strong and courageous person.

Eric of Dallas – 2007 Eric has been a patient for more than seven years. Eric inspires others with his outgoing and friendly personality. He is involved in various extra-curricular activities and enjoys playing video games and loves to watch movies with his family. He is a devoted Dallas Cowboys fan and never misses watching the games with his dad.

Ford of Lubbock – 2008 Ford receives treatment for cerebral palsy. Ford enjoys playing baseball and video games with his friends. He is also involved in his school band, where he plays the trombone. As a patient of TSRHC, Ford said he cannot wait to be a patient champion to help bring community awareness to the hospital. He inspires his friends and family with his courage and will to never give up.

Hannah of Flower Mound – 2008 Hannah has been a patient since she was 5 days old. Hannah receives treatment for osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition that causes her bones to be fragile and more susceptible to fractures. Hannah loves animals and hopes to become a veterinarian. She also plays the violin and recently was accepted into the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Hannah is excited to be a patient champion this year because she loves doing anything to support TSRHC. Her friends and family best know her for having a positive personality and being able to rise above tough circumstances.

Jamal of San Antonio – 2008 Jamal is treated for early onset scoliosis (EOS). In 2003, Jamal’s doctor in San Antonio referred him to TSRHC for EOS treatment. That year, he had dual rod growing instrumentation implanted on his spine to correct his scoliosis and allow his spine the ability to continue growing. Thanks to TSRHC, Jamal can run, play and swim with the rest of his peers. He is so excited to be a patient champion and represent TSRHC at the marathon. Jamal loves to solve puzzles, play video games and build Legos. He enjoys visiting TSRHC’s Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Child Life Center to play games and participate in the many activities available.

Jannika of San Angelo – 2010 Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient Jannika of San Angelo, Texas has learned to embrace life with only one hand. Born absent her left hand, Jannika has been a patient at TSRHC since she was 6 weeks old. In January 2003, TSRHC physicians operated on her hand so that she would be able to wear a prosthetic hand, or prosthesis. She received her first prosthesis in 2004 and now wears a moveable prosthesis that she endearingly refers to as her “Bob.” Today, Jannika is an active, cheerful and fun-loving girl who loves swimming, singing and dancing. She attends Glenmore Elementary and is in the third grade. She plays soccer and is involved with various youth activities and camps for her church.

Joshua of San Antonio – 2010 Joshua of San Antonio, Texas has been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children since he was 7 weeks old. Born breech, Joshua is treated at TSRHC for conditions including knee dislocation, clubfeet and hip dysplasia, or dislocated hip. Since his first hospital visit, Joshua has had approximately seven surgeries. His condition, however, has never slowed Joshua down from being a typical, active kid. Joshua enjoys sports and outdoor activities of all kinds including swimming, basketball, baseball, fishing, and most recently mixed martial arts and golf. Joshua attends Ralph Langley Elementary School and is in the third grade.

Kelsey of Allen – 2007 Kelsey has been treated at the hospital for a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), since she was 5 years old. CMT is a neuromuscular disease in the muscular dystrophy family. Kelsey swims competitively with the Allen High School Swimming Eagles and has participated in many other sports outside of school including wheelchair track and field. It is Kelsey’s goal to qualify for the USA Paralympics Team and to represent the USA at the 2008 Paralympics Games in Beijing, China. Kelsey enjoys working with the local Muscular Dystrophy Association office to help raise funds for research for muscular dystrophy.

Logan of Dallas – 2010 Diagnosed with scoliosis—a curvature of the spine—in 2009, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient Logan of Dallas hopes to raise awareness about scoliosis to show others that it’s possible to lead an active lifestyle with the proper medical treatment. The condition, which causes the spine to curve or twist into a “C” or “S” shape, affects two to three percent of school-age children. A runner for Greenhill School’s cross country team and a swimmer for the Dallas Mustangs, Logan discovered that something was wrong during a sports massage and feared that she would no longer be able to swim or run. As part of the orthopaedic care she receives at TSRHC, Logan wears a brace on her upper torso to help prevent her curve from progressing. As a way to give back to the hospital, Logan created a website called Race for the Curve to encourage others to form relay teams through the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon and set a goal to fundraise for TSRHC, the race beneficiary. This year, Logan plans to participate in the 5-Person Relay.

May of Dallas – 2007 May has been a patient for the past several years and is treated for a condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), which causes tumors to form in many different organs of the body. May spreads cheer and joy to others with her happy-go-lucky attitude and love for life. She has a big personality and loves to meet new people. She enjoys singing, dancing, swimming and visiting TSRHC.

Maya of Austin – 2009 Maya of Austin, Texas, has been a TSRHC patient since 2005. She was born with bilateral hip dysplasia, a condition that caused her hips to be out of socket. After learning that Maya would require surgery on her hips, her parents turned to TSRHC, which treats thousands of patients with hip disorders every year. At the young age of 18 months Maya underwent surgery, and within three months she was out of her body cast. One year later, she was able to walk. Today, Maya is an energetic dancer who loves to move to the beat of any genre of music. She loves to do yoga and has recently requested ballet classes. Maya’s young and vivacious spirit serves as inspiration to all who witness it.

Micah of Forney – 2007 Micah has been a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children since 2004. Born with a rare condition called caudal regression syndrome, Micah is absent the bottom third of his spine. He uses a stand-up wheelchair for mobility and is independent for his age. Micah always has a smile on his face, and he brings joy to everyone he meets with his outgoing personality. Micah enjoys spending time with his family and playing with his older brother, Tanner.

Molly of Dallas – 2009 Molly has received treatment for scoliosis at TSRHC since she was 12 years old. Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, affects two to three percent of school-aged children. Since starting high school, Molly has found a passion in long-distance running and joined the cross-country team. When Molly learned the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon benefits TSRHC, she wanted to get involved and give back. So, in 2008 she registered to run the half marathon in support of the hospital that has provided her care at no charge.

Nichola of Colleyville – 2008 Nichola has been a TSRHC patient since 1994 and is treated for a hand difference. She is an aspiring singer and enjoys sharing her vocal talent to make others happy. Her many performances include singing for the President of the United States in 2006 and Nichola maintains a full performance schedule but is still actively involved in sharing her TSRHC story with others. Nichola’s favorite thing about TSRHC is the feeling of “home” that she experiences when she visits the hospital.

Owen of Dallas – 2010 “Exceptionally strong and incredibly joyous,” as his mom describes him, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient Owen of Dallas has done more than most toddlers his age. In 2009, he inspired his parents to bring together a group of friends and family, made up of 30 runners and 50 cheering fans known as Team Owen, to show their support of him and TSRHC through the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon. In December 2008, Owen’s father Jonathan ran the full marathon on a whim, not knowing that the marathon benefits TSRHC. Less than two months later Owen’s parents discovered that he had a right clubfoot, and they were referred to TSRHC for treatment. With TSRHC’s Center for Excellence in Clubfoot Research and as a leader among a handful of facilities in the nation that provide two non-operative treatment methods, Owen was in luck. Doctors at TSRHC began casting Owen at 2 weeks old. For three months, Owen wore shoes connected by a bar in the center for 23 hours a day and now only wears the brace at night while he sleeps. A happy and carefree toddler, Owen is learning how to walk independently, and his family continues to support him and other patients treated at TSRHC through Team Owen.

Reid of Dallas – 2008 Reid has been a patient at TSRHC since he was 2 weeks old. Reid was born with a rare bone defect called pseudoarthrosis and at age 3, he received a below-the-knee amputation and prosthesis for his left leg. Since then, Reid has had four different brightly colored prostheses, ranging in colors from lime green, flame orange, spiral rainbow stripes and horizontal rainbow stripes. Reid loves to sing songs, read books and do art projects. Reid is a curious student and truly loves to learn.

Ryanne of Mineloa – 2007 Ryanne has been a patient for several years and inspires others with her love of life and outgoing spirit. Ryanne wears two prosthetic legs and is a below-the-elbow amputee on her right arm due to amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition which constricts the growth of extremities including arms, legs and fingers. A true gift to others, Ryanne is always cheerful and spreading joy. She enjoys swimming, gymnastics, soccer and riding her bike.

Scott of Arlington – 2007 Scott is treated at the hospital for scoliosis. Music is Scott’s passion in life. He has been singing, song-writing and playing the piano since he was a little boy. At the young age of 14, Scott released his first self-debut album, and two years later released his second album. He is a member of his high school jazz band and also travels throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area performing at various venues and stages. Scott is known for his friendliness, compassion toward people and hard work ethic, and he plans to continue pursuing his love of song-writing and music.

Skeeter of Forney – 2007 Skeeter of Forney, Texas, has been a prosthetics patient at TSRHC since 2001. His left foot was amputated at age 6, and he has been fitted with several different prostheses since his initial visit at TSRHC. A sophomore at Forney High School, he is section leader for the tubas in the Forney High School band. He likes football and basketball and played baseball with the Forney Youth Baseball Association. Skeeter has attended the Amputee Coalition of America Camp and also spends time offering advice and visiting with fellow TSRHC patients after a surgery or important visit to the hospital. He attended the 27th and 28th annual TSRHC amputee ski trip and a hospital fishing trip with other TSRHC patients in 2008, and his passion for flying has led him to pursue training for a pilot’s license to fly Lear jets.

Trace of Gunter – 2010 Born with bilateral clubfoot and a disorder that affects the way his feet move, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient Trace of Gunter, Texas continues to show others that he is an outgoing and happy young boy, and he’s not stopping now. A patient at TSRHC since he was 2 weeks old, Trace has been through a series of castings, surgery on both of his Achilles tendons, physical therapy and major surgery to help correct his feet. More common in males than females, clubfoot is one of the most common pediatric orthopaedic conditions, and TSRHC treats more than 1,000 patients with clubfoot each year. To the surprise of his family, Trace began walking in the spring of 2009. Trace continues to use braces to walk and enjoys digging in the dirt, throwing balls, laughing and singing.

William of Midland – 2007 William is treated at TSRHC for limb differences affecting his hands and feet and continues to amaze his family and friends with his advanced development. Will is from Midland, Texas, and his favorite activities are sleeping, eating and training with his mom on her daily walks. Ruby, his Golden Retriever, is one of his best buddies. Will has a great fan club of family and friends who show their support at the marathon by wearing shirts that read, “When there is a WILL, there is a way!”

Zachary of Bedford – 2008 Zachary receives treatment for spina bifida at TSRHC. He has been a patient at the hospital since 1999 and is excited to be a patient champion. Zachary believes, “As a patient champion, I can help the people who work at TSRHC help the patients get stronger.” Zachary participates in many clubs and organizations and is a member of the Junior Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball Team. His favorite thing about TSRHC is his doctor. Family and friends view Zachary as friendly and sympathetic, a young man who is always concerned about those around him.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is one of the nation’s leading pediatric centers for the treatment of orthopaedic conditions, certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders, such as dyslexia. Admission is open to Texas children from birth up to 18 years of age. Patients receive treatment regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, please call (214) 559-5000 or (800) 421-1121 or visit www.tsrhc.org.

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