A Mother’s Letter Of Appreciation

I am so incredibly grateful for the care we’ve received at Shriner’s.  And by “care” I mean far more than just medical care, which in and of itself has been excellent.  But you also take care of our entire family on a social and emotional level.  Your events and activities are special to Sophie, as well as her sisters.  Sophie is always thrilled to be the one “inviting” her family to the latest party, whether it’s the Halloween costume bash or Breakfast with Santa or even just the average clinic day where we are sure to find snacks and games and “nice people who will play with you if you’re scared,” as Sophie describes it.  As her Mom, I really appreciate the opportunity to interact with other families, to learn from their experiences and share ideas about how to best provide for children’s needs.
Sophie thinks it’s FUN to go to Shriner’s!  On the days when I pick her up from daycare to head there for an appointment she will tell her friends “I get to go to Shriners!”  Can you imagine?  A young child thinking it’s a special privilege to “get to” go see her doctors for an hours-long series of appointments?  In her mind, it’s like going to one big party.  She actually looks forward to it. What a gift that is to her parents, knowing she doesn’t dread or fear or even dislike her never-ending medical procedures.
Sophie has developed individual relationships with staff there.  She talks about her team of specialists as if they are her own personal friends.  Often when she accomplishes something difficult, like riding a bike without help or maintaining her balance on a narrow walkway, she’ll say “I think Crystal (her physical therapist) will be proud of me – let’s tell her!”  Last July she wanted to invite “Dr. Rick” and Katie (from the orthotics department) to her 4th birthday party!  She couldn’t even imagine that they wouldn’t want to come because, after all, “they love me and want to have fun with me,” she said.  This past fall, after a series of casts on her leg, she said “I hope I don’t break any more bones, but if I do it’s OK, because then I will go see Chaz and he always makes me laugh.”
Over the summer when her sisters were putting on their flip-flops and running around outside, Sophie was sad that she doesn’t get to wear flip-flops, as they don’t fit over her ankle braces.  Through tears she said “It’s not fair!”  I had to agree with her that it’s not fair, but I also said “It’s not fair to them that you get to do some special things that they don’t get to do, right?”  She thought for a minute and then said “You mean like go to my special doctors, and get surprises when they take pictures of my body?”  I said “Yes, things like that.”  She seemed to feel a little better. 
With that, as I have so many times in the past, I cried a few tears of my own, out of pure gratitude and appreciation for all that Shriner’s has done for Sophie and for all of us.  We are so lucky to be a part of the Twin Cities Shriner’s family.  Thank you!