RJ Mitte to Ride on Shriners Hospitals for Children Float

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shriners Hospitals Celebrates a ‘Million Stories of Hope and Healing’ on Traditional New Year’s Day Parade.

For the fifth consecutive year, Shriners Hospitals for Children® is participating in the annual Rose Parade® in Pasadena, Calif. This year, award-winning actor, former patient of Shriners Hospitals and active ambassador for the health care system, RJ Mitte, will participate along with three patient ambassadors from different parts of the country and representatives of Shriners International; the health care system’s founding fraternity.

"I was diagnosed at the Shreveport location when I was three years old, and they are a big part of who I am. I would not be here today with you if it wasn't for Shriners Hospitals for Children," said Mitte.

Shiners Hospitals’ float, titled ‘A Million Stories of Hope and Healing,’ embodies the 2015 Rose Parade theme – “Inspiring Stories.” The float, which is number 67 in the parade order, focuses on story books representing Shriners Hospitals for Children’s patient success stories. Each page depicts the realization of the hopes and dreams of a child, made possible by the encouragement and strength they found at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“Participation in the parade provides a tremendous opportunity for our 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children to reach countless people, and raise awareness of our mission to improve the lives of children,” said Dale Stauss, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The patients who are riding on the float are living the story of hope and healing; please see a brief bio of all of the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children float participants:

  1. RJ Mitte, Love to the rescue® Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children. RJ is an award-winning actor best known for his role as Walter "Flynn" White Jr. on the AMC television series Breaking Bad. A former patient of our Shreveport location, RJ is an official spokesperson for our health care system and shares his message of accepting no limits to living with a disability through appearances on behalf of Shriners Hospitals, including the recent #cutthebull campaign against bullying. #CUTTHEBULL PSA
  2. Joe Dertinger, one of two 2014-15 national patient ambassadors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Joe is an amputee. Born with an unusual condition affecting all four extremities, Joe underwent a series of surgeries when he was 15 months old. By the age of 5, he was heavily involved in downhill skiing and he hasn’t stopped since. He has won many medals in his sport and is now training for the Paralympic games. JOE’S STORY
  3. Katie Ladlie is one of two national patient ambassadors for the health care system. She was diagnosed with a rare condition at a very young age, and years later made the brave decision to have her leg amputated to end the debilitating pain caused by her condition. Now she is happier and more active than ever; she practices sled hockey, track and swimming, and has found a new passion in public speaking. KATIE’S STORY
  4. Alyssa Mercado, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles patient. Alyssa sustained burns on 40 percent of her body in 2006. After receiving initial care at our Sacramento location, Alyssa was referred to the Los Angeles location for reconstructive surgery. Today, Alyssa is a dedicated student and an ambassador for her hospital. She has participated in several activities, including the recent #cutthebull campaign against bullying. #CUTTHEBULL PSA
  5. Dale Stauss, Imperial Potentate for Shriners International. Mr. Stauss is the highest-ranking Shriner in the world and also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
  6. Cheryl Stauss, First Lady of Shriners International, wife of Dale Stauss. One of her duties as First Lady is to lead a fundraising program to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.
  7. Nicholas Thomas, Former Imperial Potentate, Shriners Hospitals for Children Board Member and Shriners International member.
  8. Elaine Keza, Former First Lady of Shriners International.

Shriners Hospitals for Children provides advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a proud participant of the 126th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade, and shares the organization’s passion for strengthening the personal empowerment and well-being of kids all around the world.

For more information on Shriners Hospitals for Children, please visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.