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Our Philanthropy

A Purpose-driven Fraternity – Membership with a Meaningful Impact

The fraternity established Shriners Children's as its official philanthropy in 1922 and continues to support it today. It is now one of the largest pediatric sub-specialty healthcare systems in the world, with locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In addition, the healthcare system holds hundreds of outreach clinics annually, with medical staff members routinely traveling to places around the world to provide pediatric medical care. The staff of Shriners Children’s is dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research and offering outstanding educational programs for medical professionals.

More Than Just a Membership – Building a Legacy

Shriners International members, their families and partner organizations are committed to improving the lives of children throughout the world. Through fundraising, volunteering, education, awareness campaigns, board leadership and more, the impact of the fraternity and supporters, help Shriners Children's provide the most amazing care anywhere. 

Serving on Shriners Hospitals Boards

Shriner leadership

An exclusive benefit as a Shriner is the opportunity to serve in several meaningful and mission critical roles in support of the healthcare system. Shriners are elected by the fraternity’s membership to strategically guide the healthcare system’s direction through serving on Shriners Children’s Board of Directors, Shriners Children’s Board of Trustees and at a local level as officers on each location's Board of Governors.

Women Impacting Care

Women Impacting Care, chaired by Shriners International’s First Lady Jennifer Craven, is an annual program dedicated to supporting Shriners Children’s mission to change and improve lives. The First Lady’s fundraising program, The World is Your Oyster, emphasizes the specialty care Shriner’s Children’s provides for sports-related injuries and celebrates the tenacity of our patients that drives us to deliver the best care anywhere.

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Patient Transportation

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Each Shrine Center has a special unit of transporters called the Road Runners. For each trip, they pick up a local child and their family, drive them to a Shriners Children's location for treatment, and then return with them back home. The transportation is at no cost to the child’s family, but the Road Runners say they are paid with smiles from children and families. The Patient Transportation Handbook (updated version coming soon) is a resource developed for our Shriners and outlines recommendations on a variety of topics.

Hospital Volunteers

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Members have many unique volunteer opportunities at a local hospital level that are often reserved exclusively for Shriners including serving as tour guides and other meaningful roles at Shriners Children's. These opportunities offer a first-hand experience of the philanthropy we Shriners support.

Women and Philanthropy

Women & Philanthropy empowers all women, diverse in age, interests and backgrounds, to take action and make a positive impact. Members recognize that our gifts go further and have greater influence when we give together.

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An exclusive benefit as a Shriner is the opportunity to serve in several meaningful and mission-critical roles in support of Shriners Children's. Shriners are elected by the fraternity’s membership to strategically guide the healthcare system’s direction through serving on Shriners Children’s Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and at a local level, as officers on each facility's Board of Governors.

Members have other unique volunteer opportunities and are frequently seen throughout the grounds of our hospitals and outpatient facilities and at events, generously donating their time in a multitude of ways, including serving as tour guides, entertaining patients, and transporting patients to the hospitals and clinics. Our members and their families also engage in significant fundraising efforts, hosting a variety of events including golf tournaments, football games, motorcycle rides, fishing tournaments, dinner parties and dances.

Thanks to the determination, dedication and hard work of millions of Shriners and supporters over the years, the two organizations have left a lasting impact on humanity. Since opening the first Shriners Children’s location, the healthcare system has improved the lives of more than 1.4 million children. And with the help of new generations who share this passion for helping others, the organizations will continue making a difference for decades to come.


Meet National Patient Ambassadors Katherine and Parker

Back in the Game: Katherine

Katherine’s life was turned upside down when she was involved in a car accident. At 16 years old she found herself fighting for her life. Suffering from severe burns on her left leg Katherine and her family found it difficult locating a medical facility capable of treating her injuries. Katherine’s family was then told about Shriners Children’s, Boston. With the help of her doctors and nurses, Katherine began the long and difficult road to recovery. Katherine loves playing college soccer for Northeastern University and is studying to become a pediatric nurse.
View Transcript

Margaret:

I could feel my phone in my bag, so I answered the phone and it was the North Andover Police and they said, "Katherine's been in an accident." And it was one of those moments in your life that from the moment you become a parent you dread. I felt everything just like drain out of me. I didn't
even know how I was standing and talking. And he said, "She's here with me. She gave me your number." And then the phone cut out.

Andrew:

Margaret and I met in college. We got married soon after college. Both had our careers going, decided to have children. 

Margaret:

So, the story of Katherine is beautiful. I always say the stars and moon aligned. She was placed into our arms when she was five days old. She was right from the get-go strong and engaging, smiling and happy.

Diane:

We were so excited when Katherine came into the family and in fact, I was the first one down to the car. I just could not wait to meet her when she first came to the house.

Margaret:

From the time she was little, she was always on the move. We went from Tiny Tunes singing classes to dance classes and ballet and baseball and gymnastics and soccer and lacrosse.

Diane:

Katherine is like a light. She is just an absolutely beautiful person. She's witty. She's fun. She's compassionate. She's smart. She's family oriented. She's just really an incredible person.

Andrew:

She was the type of kid she never really played with dolls. She wasn't that type of kid. She was just if you were in the yard and you wanted to shoot hoops, or we've got the soccer wall in the back, if you wanted to do yard work, you're building a patio or work in the yard, not a kid that could sit down at all. Just on the go and just happy to be around, happy to be with people.

Katherine:

I'm Katherine. I'm a freshman at Northeastern University. The relationship I have with my parents, I guess there's only really one way to describe it, and it's they're my best friends. Growing up as an only child, I didn't have a sibling to lean on, or to just spend all my time with, and it was always one of my parents. My dad was my first soccer coach, and my mom, I spent every waking moment with her when I'm at home. And the bond that we have is super strong. I think in my decision to pick soccer over other sports, I think it definitely started in middle school, when I had to decide between soccer and gymnastics. I had done both of them since I was like three years old, and it was a really, really hard decision, because I did love both of them. I was so passionate about soccer, and I was getting really good at it, so for me to be able to stay healthy and do something I love and be good at it, was kind of a no-brainer decision.

Margaret:

And I think her goal really through the whole thing was to play college soccer.

Katherine:

I've always been the type of kid that it's, go big or go home. And I want to be the best of the best, so if that meant I had to push myself and spend 18 hours a day on the soccer field to go play division one, I was going to do it. From my sophomore year on, I couldn't have been more excited, like all I wanted to do was go to college because I just couldn't wait to be a part of like ... be a Huskie, be a part of that community.

Margaret:

So, it was September 11, 2019, and it was a spectacular day.

Andrew:

Well, I was in Atlanta. My company was just receiving an award. I don't think I had my phone on me, or my phone was on silent. And we were all just enjoying everyone's company and the moment, and all of a sudden one of the associates, a good friend of mine came, and said "Hey, you've got to go."

Katherine:

So, I had just had dinner with my friends. There was four of us, and we decided we were going to head back for study hall. And it was such an awesome day. We were listening to music. The windows were down. We were just having a great time, and I was just enjoying spending time with my friends. We were heading up this really old farm road in our town, and it's pretty long and pretty windy. You could feel the speed definitely picking up rapidly. When the second turn came, there was a lot of potholes on that road, and so she hit one and just started losing control and was trying to brake, and just couldn't catch herself.

We ended up coming into contact with a tree, and the windshield broke, and everything just shattered. Airbags go off, and at that point, I lost consciousness for a little bit. And when I woke up, I was completely alone in the car. I'm like, "Okay, I've got to get out of here." I can smell smoke, and I can see some flames coming from underneath my seat. And I turned to open the door and it won't open. And somewhere in impact, it had kind of been smashed in. That's when I was like, "Okay, I'm not making it out of here," and I kind of came to terms with that for a minute, and then I realized that's not who I am. Of course, I was going to fight until the bitter end to get out.

And so, I just, again, I had no feeling in my body. I was in such shock, I just started kicking the door. And I just got it wide enough that I could just slip through to the ground. I started to see a car come down from the hill, in the direction that we had come from, and I just started waving my arms frantically, hoping that I could be seen. And thank God he stopped, and he came running over, and he helped me limp over to his car. We were probably 10 feet away from the car, almost to his car, and the car just went up in complete flames. And I think in that moment was when I realized how close I was to not making it to 17.

Margaret:

I realized it was really bad when the ambulance doors opened and I looked. Her hair was filled with glass and kind of all over the place. Her eyes were like saucers. And I knew at that point this is bad.

Katherine:

I will never forget the look on my mom's face. And I think that's when I knew how bad it was. I had never seen her that scared, and I just all I could say was "It's going to be okay." And I was so sorry. And that look will never leave my mind.

Andrew:

Yeah, she said, “I’m sorry.” And then we’re like... and we hugged her. She didn’t do anything wrong.

Margaret:

Everyone has quite a story to tell from that September 11th night. Thank God all the kids are still with us today, but it's been a painful road for them. It's been a lot. It's something that is forever etched in their memory.

Dr. Robert L. Sheridan:

Katherine had suffered a very deep burn to her leg, and the muscles were damaged. And so, as a damaged muscle within those compartments swells, the pressure goes up in that compartment, and the only treatment for that to salvage the limb is to release the compartments so that the muscles can swell without constraint and still have their blood supply. So, that was the procedure that we did that night.

Courtney Updegrove:

So, when Katherine first arrived to Shriner's, she just had a smile that would light up a room, and always had a positive attitude. Whatever the outcome was, no matter what the doctors were saying might happen, or the different changes in plan of cares, she always had a really positive attitude about she was going to return back to soccer and that was her main goal.

Dr. Robert L. Sheridan:

Well, people like Katherine are fun to take care of because they really want to get better, and she really I think exceeded all expectations in that regard, in that as it turns out, she was a very good, talented athlete already, and in wonderful condition, and extremely well motivated and not afraid of hard work, and that made a huge difference, and her recovery was remarkable.

Rich Sederman:

With her particular accident, I had heard that there were possibilities of leg amputation, major surgeries. And in my head I said, "This poor girl is going to be devastated." And then what I remember most about her is when she got here she had none of that. I was completely wrong. She had an amazing, aggressive attitude about trying to get better. Her motivation and her strength was very impressive.

Cheryl Kelly:

So, the first time I met Katherine, of course she was coming to surgery. So that is probably one of the most anxiety provoking things, I'm sure. But, I have to say that her family was amazing, and she did have repeated surgeries and did very well, and I think from the way that we practice here, the families get to know you and trust you and it just makes things so much easier for them.

Margaret:

I think what makes Shriners’ unique is that they treat the whole family. They don’t just treat the patient. They treat the entire family, and they just always had the right thing to say, or could really read who she was, and knew what she needed.

Andrew:

It starts with Dr. Sheridan. He went on to do seven surgeries on her legs. But, it's the nurses that are there. It's the physical therapists that go in and talk to her and I think the amazing thing is they just knew how to relate to all their different patients, and just keep them in an optimistic way that they're going to be okay.

Deborah Carlson:

Katherine was pretty special. Everyone has special patients, but Katherine really stood out. She was one brave young lady. She had to endure a lot, pain, fear of the unknown. This young lady had ... her whole career was in front of her. She had committed to Northeastern to play soccer. And in an instant, that almost went away.

Andrew: Shriner's just had a magical way of putting their arms around Katherine and just making her feel safe and then kind of pulling her forward.

Courtney Updegrove:

One of her goals was to be able to return to soccer, like we all know that was her passion. One of my goals as a therapist was to get her there. Not only to get her back to the soccer field, but was to actually get her back to playing her senior year of soccer.

Beverly:

When Katherine left the hospital, it's the end of October, I think there were two games left of her high school. The very last game, she got to play. One of her nurses came and Katherine scored a goal. It was amazing. Everybody was on their feet, cheering for her. I mean, tears, imagine what this girl has gone through, in short order, and here she is, scoring a goal. And then she goes on to play division one, and is not just a division one player, she starts at Northeastern, and is an integral part of that team.

Dushawne “Doc” Simpson:

Yeah, I mean Katherine is super talented, really athletic, smart, very skillful, and I think the nature of the team that she was on, with a lot of girls who also had a lot of college aspirations, I think she just kind of continued to follow that path. I think anytime you have a top kid like that, you're reaching out to your friends to let them know "Hey, we might have something special for you."

Ashley Phillips:

I think when you bring a young lady into a program like Katherine, who's overcome such a significant obstacle and challenge, it elevates everyone's perspective. She probably exceeded everyone's expectations as a freshman. It's not surprising because of who she is, but it is surprising because when they're that young, they're competing against players four and five years older than them, right? So, there's that component of it. But, I think I knew if she put her mind to it, she had the ability to. It's just having the confidence and kind of courage to throw yourself out there as an 18-year-old, to achieve that goal.

Andrew:

We're excited for her. She attained her goal and just very proud of her.

Dushawne “Doc” Simpson:

Perseverance. Things will happen to you in life, and your response to that will dictate how far you go. So, she taught me that. That's a lesson I'll never forget.

Diane:

Oh, I couldn’t be more proud of her. I can’t imagine at 16, having gone through the night that she did, and to face the adversity that she did, and to come out so strong and so compassionate and just such a light.

Katherine:

I think that Shriner's definitely was the final decision in me wanting to do nursing. I spent so much time in the unit, and I got to see so many different nurses, and that definitely solidified that I wanted to be a nurse. I definitely want to work in pediatrics, and burn care is definitely number one on my list of things I want to do. And knowing that I've had this experience, and it's something that I can use to help my patients in the future just makes it seem like an even better idea and something that I definitely want to endure in my life.

Courtney Updegrove:

I think Katherine has so much drive, determination, and willingness to help others. I think if it's a nurse, if it's in the healthcare, she's going to give back to the community in ways that we can't even imagine.

Margaret: So, I think if I could say one thing, it would be thank you and we love you. You gave Katherine the life that she loved back.

Katherine:

You know, something my dad and I always talk about is how different this outcome could have been if I wasn't at Shriner's and I think that goes directly to the Shriner's themselves. And if they don't do what they do, and if they haven't done and donated and done everything that they've done for these kids, not only my life, but a lot of lives would be different. I hope that they see this and know, "Okay, this is what I do, what I do for." And just without them, none of this would have been possible.

Back in the Game: Parker

In the blink of an eye, young Parker’s life would forever be changed. Parker, his mother and younger brother were involved in a car accident that resulted in the loss of much of Parker’s right leg. It didn’t take long for Parker and his family to find Shriners Children’s Greenville and their prosthetic and orthotic specialists. With the help of a prosthetic limb, Parker is back in the game and playing the sports he loves.
View Transcript

Wayne:

It's a Friday morning I was off I wasn't at work and Parker called me and I missed the call.

Winifred:

I remember her saying mama check on parker just check on Parker.

Sharonda:

I woke up and I was in the trees I was in the bushes and I heard the baby in the back seat screaming and I heard parker screaming get me out of this car before I die and they finally got parker out of the car and they put him in the ambulance and they just took him away from

Winifred:

My family are very close every Sunday we come together we cook we eat we sit around and talk we support each other I mean we are a very close family. 

Sharonda:

My parents lived on the outskirts out in the country part of Oxford maybe 10, 15 minutes from the town. My dad had a large plot of land and we rode bikes we had four-wheelers everything we were always outside playing and everything.

My freshman year at UNC Greensboro I found out I was pregnant with Parker and I called my parents and I said, hey I’m pregnant and I was like what am I going to do and my parents said you're going to finish school. I was like okay.

Winifred:

Parker called us mama and daddy we had Parker while she was at school, so we practically raised parker. 

Sharonda:

He was everybody's baby, everybody, cheerful playful happy just all over the place wow funny life of the party 

Wayne: 

He was a great kid we still have that closeness now as we did when he was a child with us. 

Parker:

I’m parker I’m 13 years old I like to play basketball. I admire my grandfather in basketball and Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball and Kevin Durant but my favorite team is probably the Knicks. Yeah, I would say my grandpa probably introduced me to basketball one day he was watching the game and then I started watching it with him and then it just got interesting to me and I just wanted to do it myself

I play point guard or shooting guard. 

Sharonda:

He's always done sports like that, baseball flag football basketball. He was always involved in the red department. 

Mike Hobgood:

I’ve been coaching parker since he was like five parkers’ always been the one who excels he got the heart of a line I wish I had the drive he had.

Elyscia Von Brown:

When you first meet Mr. Parker he's this big ball of energy. He can't sit down he's got to touch everything and then when you just peel back some layers you realize like he's such a genuine soul and he wants to help out every single person. Parker wants to push everyone to first place and just make sure that they're all at the same like position in life and he shows a sense of caring that you don't really see in a lot of children is particularly in his age and he's just a delight.

Sharonda:

The morning of the accident was like any regular morning. It was the first Friday of the school year, so it was still exciting we were like all right let's get ready let's take a picture you know
so, as we're traveling from our house we got past the high school and Parker said we were just talking in the car and he said I kind of started stumbling over my words and he said that I just, I wasn't responding to him.

Parker:

I remember having a conversation with my mom and then she just stopped speaking to me admit in response. 

Winifred:

She had a seizure behind the wheel Parker saw it coming he released the seat belt and guide the wheel and that when she hit a tree.

Parker:

I remember grabbing the wheel steering away from the arm traffic and then from there it's just like a few moments I remember I remember screaming I remember seeing my brother my eyes felt foggy and I remember looking down and I saw that my ankle had broken.

Sharonda:

I knew something was wrong when we got to the hospital and I kept saying where's parker where's parker and no one every time I said where's parker no one would say anything to me they just got quiet and that's when his dad and my brother came in and said he's hurt really bad.

Wayne:

You know I always think about it what if you know they're always the body of if I had gotten a call could I have coached him through preventing the accident.

Sharonda:

I had broken my fingers the baby had to have his head stitched so we were all in the ER trying to get ourselves fixed and then they told me about Parker they finally let me up to his room and I just saw my baby laying on the bed on life support with a neck brace on and all these tubes coming out of his stomach and his mouth and it was bad. They took the pins out and put a cast on they cut a square out and every day they came in and they would just put their fingers as if they were checking his pulse on his foot and he had a pulse every day so everything was good no blood thinners they stopped the internal bleeding and I think this was like day three or day four boom no pulse and they said well don't worry about it we'll check again tomorrow. The next day you can see his foot turning a little gray and then the next day it was black and the doctor came in and said okay it's time for us to go ahead and amputate it and so they pull the curtain the whole family stands behind the curtain and I have to sit on the bed with parker and tell him that he's going to be amputated and he just cried out and he was so afraid and terrified and I just had to reassure him everything was going to be okay.

Parker:

I was concerned about sports. I knew that it would take some time to get back in so they said they'll provide a prosthetic as the time progresses and after I heard that I said okay I know that it's not gonna be the same as before but I’m going to try everything I possibly can to live the normal life that I was supposed to.

Winifred:

We found out from Shriners through the hospital when we first went to Shriners I mean we had a ball they make you feel so welcome.

Parker:

The first time I went to Shriners Children's, I was blown away by how big it was I remember meeting the doctors for the first-time meeting Crissy, Nate all of those guys. 

Crissy:

When Parker first came to us after his accident it was from the get-go can I run now is it it was never um a slow transition back to just being a kid and he has this can-do attitude. He's so happy and fun he's just you know Parker's always waiting to do the next thing whatever sports event um he's just a superstar.

David Westberry:

So, he went a underwent a bellow knee amputation which was a cut through the the leg bone there's two bones in the leg the tibia and the fibula and so there was an um the leg was removed at the level of the mid tibia which is what we call below knee amputation.

Nate Carter

So, I’ve known Parker since he came to us at Shriners after his accident he's been here three or four years now so he was initially fit um with a supracondylar prosthetic design which means that it the suspension comes above the condyles with the knee and that's how it stays on while you're walking and running 

Crissy:

We were kind of getting Parker acclimated to getting up and moving again and transitioning back to just doing everyday things of course he quickly progressed and so now we have him in some newer technology with higher end components to help him really be competitive in sports. The technology how the prosthesis suspends on his residual limb is such an intimate fed that he's able just to not worry about the prosthesis itself but just continue to be a competitive athlete that he is.

David Westberry:

Parker wants to be active he wants to play sports he wants to play baseball and and basketball he wants to do things with his friends and you know we want to provide him with the care and the devices that he needs to enable him to do that they're very good prosthetics now that allow children to get back into regular activities and be very active in sports and and are here to kind of walk alongside these families to enable that to happen.

Sharonda:

The roadrunner space is great found out that a lot of the road runners are just regular people from the community that I’ve grown to love. 

Winifred:

Shriners are the best we support Shriners for everything. 

Parker:

I don't think without meeting the people there I would be as kind and well as a person that they make me from the words that they say from the actions that they do put all together would humble me the way that they do. For three months I was not able to walk at all but when I first took my first step with my prosthetic it was like it was an amazing moment of my life and it opened a new chapter for me. 

Sharonda:

He plays basketball that's his favorite sport and this year he went out for baseball as a child he played baseball all the time but this is his first year playing baseball in middle school.

Parker:

Every time I possibly can I can pick I want to pick up a basketball and just go and get as much work in as I possibly can.

Mike Hobgood:

I wish I’m all successful I mean a kid like that who endured something so young you can't wish nothing but the best one if he wants to be in the NBA I want him to be in the NBA and I want to be there every step and hope that one day when he gets that he'll remember me as the first coach he had to push him to that spot.

Elyscia Von Brown:

I mean he really is an amazing kid that when I like think about teaching he's one of those kids that make me realize like I love my job and I love what I do and I just hope that he makes everybody's day brighter. 

Parker:

I want the next child to know that might be going through the same situation I made going through to know that it's people there to support you and you're not alone.

Sharonda: 

I tell people all the time I live with a real-life hero his younger brother calls him Peter Parker all the time because they look at Spider-Man, well you don't understand Bryson. He's a real-life hero he not always saved mama's life but he saved yours too. 

Parker:

Hero to me means like a person that no matter what does as much as they possibly can to make sure everything stays intact and that's exactly what I want to make sure I do for not only just my mom and my brother but for everyone that's ever around me I want everyone to know that no matter how big of a person he became in life he always made sure that everyone around him was okay and was in great care. 

Sharonda:

He hasn't let anything stop him yet just keep going the sky's the limit. 

Parker:

With Shriners Children's they allowed me to work with the process of getting back to playing sports and activities I did before that happened and just making sure I was living life as a record child. Thanks to Shriners Children's I’m back in the game.

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