A Shriner's Story
A Patient's Dad Gets His Fez
When he was 18 months old, GianLuca was accidentally burned when some hot tea spilled over his head, face and shoulders. Although the toddler did not appear to be in pain, his mother took him to his pediatrician. From there, they were directed to a local hospital emergency room, and then the little boy was sent by ambulance to Shriners Children's Boston. GianLuca’s father, Greg, said he and his wife did not know anything about Shriners Hospitals at the time. They quickly learned a great deal.
It was a frightening time for the family. GianLuca developed an infection, causing a high fever and making his skin as “red as a tomato,” Greg said. GianLuca was treated in the hospital’s outpatient clinic, and the family was relieved to learn the boy would not need surgery. He was seen weekly for about a year, and then returned every few months for follow-up care.
As GianLuca healed, the family wanted to give back, and so Greg joined Aleppo Shriners in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
It was a family decision. While we could have made a one-time monetary donation or multiple monetary donations, we felt that was not enough to show our appreciation for the recovery of our son. Instead we wanted to bring awareness to the organization by being part of it.
GianLuca, now 8, is passionate about playing soccer and football. He loves lacrosse and is an avid swimmer.
“I am honored to be able to be part of an organization that helped my son recover from his burn experience,” said Greg. “While it has allowed me to connect to people of various backgrounds, it is humbling to know I am part of an organization where everyone is working to help others in some way. The effort of work does not need to be significant to be appreciated, either. People know their efforts are making a positive impact in someone's life.”
Q&A with Greg
Q: What kinds of activities do you enjoy sharing with fellow nobles?
A: Right now, it is all about staying connected. Fellow nobles I have met and I are all at different stages in our lives, but we all know we are there for each other.
Q: Does your family participate in Shriners activities with you?
A: We are all doing our part with a tab collection program at work and school. People who know us just come up and hand us Ziploc bags full of tabs. If there is a family-friendly volunteer activity at my Freemasonry lodge or Shriners temple, we will try to volunteer as a family so our children learn the importance of helping others. These have been a big success with our two boys who have been old enough to take part.
Q: How has being a Shriner enriched your life?
A: Being able to give back in some way to an organization that helped my family brings me great joy.
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