Shriners Hospitals for Children Presents ‘A Tale of Two Patients’

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Allisa and Kate 2011 patient ambassadors(DENVER) Shriners Hospitals for Children® patients Alissa Perkins, 2, of Las Vegas and Kate Hickman, 13, of Houston have been selected as the health care system’s patient ambassadors for 2011-2012. As patient ambassadors, Alissa and Kate represent the thousands of children Shriners Hospitals for Children care for every year. Their stories are featured in the Shriners Hospitals for Children patient success video “A Tale of Two Patients,” which premiered on Wednesday, July 6, at the 2011 Imperial Session of Shriners International – the annual international Shriners meeting – in Denver. The families visited each other’s hospital to learn more about their journeys and see first-hand the different services the health care system offers. The video was directed by Christopher Coppola.

When Alissa Perkins was born, doctors diagnosed her with fibular hemimelia, a shortening or absence of one of the two bones in the calf, which may require amputation or bone-lengthening procedures. After Alissa’s great-grandmother suggested the family consider consulting Shriners Hospitals for Children, they attended the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. At the event, Alissa’s mother spoke with former patient Katie Walker who had been diagnosed with a similar condition as Alissa. Katie was more than happy to share her phenomenal experiences at Shriners Hospitals for Children, including the expert care, physical therapy and customized prosthetics provided by the hospital. Alissa ultimately had her left leg amputated and a follow-up surgery performed last year at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles. She received her first prosthesis right before her first birthday in July and was walking a month later.

Five years ago, Kate Hickman, then 8, sustained second and third degree burns on 45 percent of her body when a candle flame ignited the hem of her dress.

Kate’s father rushed her to a local hospital in Houston, but the emergency room staff there did not feel able to give Kate all the care she needed, so they referred her to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Galveston, a hospital noted for expertise in pediatric burn care. Kate underwent multiple skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries to improve her condition. She also received extensive physical therapy and was able to regain full range of motion. Today, Kate, 13, is an energetic student who enjoys singing, acting, participating in sports and spending time with her family and friends. She was named the October 2009 “Memorial Buzz Kid,” an honor given to outstanding youths in the Houston area.

Following the premiere of the video in Denver, Kate’s older sister, Abbey, 19, serenaded Kate, Alissa and the crowd with a beautiful song. Both families were received by members of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“The patient success video is the highlight of our weeklong convention and it effectively reinforces the fraternity’s support of the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children: Changing the World through Caring for Kids,” said Michael Severe, Imperial Potentate-elect of Shriners International.

About Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 22 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

About Shriners International
Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 325,000 members throughout the world.

Media contact:
Fabiana Lowe
Shriners International Headquarters